New York, 13 August 2022 (TDI): Chinese Ambassador to United Nations (UN), Zhang Jun, said that China is “deeply concerned” by the recent shelling of the Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) in Ukraine. He said, restoring peace in the region is the only way to eliminate nuclear risks.
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Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant
With six reactors, the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant in Ukraine is the largest in Europe. Although it has been under Russian military control following its intervention in Ukraine since the beginning of March.
It is the first time a military force has invaded a nuclear power plant. Military activity has taken place there and nearby, including shelling recently. Both sides have blamed the other for the shelling.
All parties have said publicly that they want IAEA experts to visit the site to verify its security. Despite months of efforts, such a mission has yet to take place.
Chinese Envoy addresses risks at Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Facilities
Ukraine and Russia have exchanged accusations over shelling the Zaporizhzhya plant, which makes a quarter of Ukraine’s total electricity.
The Chinese Ambassador said that shelling did not pose an immediate threat to nuclear safety. As per International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) from Ukraine’s nuclear regulator, the radiation level is normal.
Zhang said, “Nevertheless, the shelling did cause damage to the physical integrity of the plant, its safety and security system, power supply and personnel safety, which sounded a nuclear alarm to the international community.”
Moreover, Zhang highlighted that if a major disaster occurred in Zaporizhzhya, the results would be far worse than those of the Fukushima nuclear accident in Japan.
The Fukushima nuclear disaster’s large radioactive releases and the nuclear-contaminated water had major effect on the whole ecosystem. As a result, there is a great need for concern about these issues. China does not want to see the same risks playing out again.
The Ambassador expressed hope for quick implementation of the mission to the Zaporizhzhia facility by IAEA Director-General Rafael Grossi with a team of specialists.
Russia has agreed to provide the necessary help for the visit. Ukraine also wrote to Grossi and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to understand the importance of such a visit.
There is a great threat to nuclear security from the Ukraine conflict. Only by defusing the situation and restoring peace remove nuclear risks, reduce misjudgment, and avoid accidents.
Furhtermore, the Chinese Ambassador urged all parties to begin talks, approach the Ukraine situation calmly and rationally, and address security concerns.
The Ambassador emphasized a balanced, effective, and long-lasting security architecture to achieve common security.
He reaffirmed China’s firm stance that states’ sovereignty and territorial integrity should be maintained. All the states must fulfill the objectives and principles of the UN Charter.