Australian Embassy and Permanent Mission to the United Nations
Bosnia and Herzegovina, Hungary, Slovakia and Slovenia

Agenda Item 7: Nuclear safety, security and safeguards in Ukraine

IAEA Board of Governors

Agenda Item 7: Nuclear safety, security and safeguards in Ukraine

7 June 2023

Statement by H.E Ambassador Ian Biggs, Governor and Resident Representative of Australia to the IAEA



Australia thanks the Director General for the comprehensive report before us. Once again, it provides a sobering overview of the serious impact Russia’s illegal and immoral invasion of Ukraine is having on Ukraine’s nuclear facilities. We are concerned by the report’s conclusion that all seven pillars for nuclear safety and security at Zaporizhzhia have been compromised.  It is – frankly – unacceptable that Russia’s war on Ukraine has impacted: the reliability and availability of off-site power lines to all Ukraine’s nuclear power stations; and the physical integrity of Europe’s largest nuclear power plant; and the maintenance, staffing and supply lines for the plant; and the availability of off-site radiation monitoring. 

It is also unacceptable that Russia’s aggression has further risked safety at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant.  The Nova Kakhovka dam would still be standing were it not for Russia’s illegal and immoral invasion of Ukraine. We thank the Director General for his update to the Board and amplify his calls to protect the cooling pond at the plant.

We welcome the establishment of a continuous IAEA presence at all nuclear power plants in Ukraine, and the Director General’s willingness to deploy a new programme of medical assistance for Ukrainian operating personnel. We acknowledge the very challenging conditions that IAEA staff are operating under, particularly at Zaporizhzhia.  We are deeply concerned that the sixth rotation of the IAEA Support and Assistance Mission to Zaporizhzhia (ISAMZ) in February had to be delayed by close to a month to ensure safe passage, and we express our fervent hope that the imminent delayed ISAMZ rotation is able to take place as soon as possible. We thank the Director General for his continuing readiness to travel to Zaporizhzhia himself in the interests of team security.


We commend the Director General for the significant efforts made during the reporting period in pursuit of a nuclear safety and security protection zone around the Zaporizhzhia plant.  We welcome the Director General’s remarks to the UN Security Council on 30 May and we offer our support to his five principles to help ensure nuclear safety and security at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant.  We call for compliance with these principles and look forward to the Director General’s reporting to this Board.

In addition to the Director General’s principles, we also support those put forward by Ukraine in its remarks to the UN Security Council, especially that the Zaporizhzhia plant be returned to the competent Ukrainian authorities, and including:

  • withdrawal of troops and all other Russian personnel illegally present at the plant;
  • guarantees of uninterrupted power supply to ZNPP from territory under the control of the Government of Ukraine; and
  • a humanitarian corridor between Enerhodar and the plant to ensure the safe rotation of management, operational and repair personnel.

We take this opportunity to utterly reject the assertions we heard on Monday regarding Russian sovereignty over any Ukrainian territory. Russia’s attempted illegal annexation of Ukrainian territory has no validity under international law.

Australia is proud to have contributed both equipment and extrabudgetary assistance to Ukraine through the IAEA. We continue to condemn Russia’s illegal and immoral invasion of Ukraine, and work in our national capacity to ensure Russia is held accountable, including sanctioning more than 1,100 individuals and entities supporting Russia’s war. We will support Ukraine for as long as it takes.

With these comments, we note and commend the Director General’s report and request that GOV/2023/30 be made public.