Sanction ROSATOM and ‘War Stress Tests’ required all of European nuclear power plants - Greenpeace
3 March - Kyiv, Ukraine… The attack, seizure and occupation of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine by Russian military forces which began one year ago have major implications for the safety and security of nuclear reactors worldwide, Greenpeace Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) warned today. The environmental organization calls for industry Fukushima-like stress tests to be applied to the global nuclear industry. (1)
Together with Russia’s state nuclear agency, ROSATOM, the unprecedented attack on Europe’s largest nuclear plant, continues to threaten a major nuclear event with potentially severe radiological consequences. Greenpeace safety assessments (2) from 12 months ago and today (3) conclude that the only way to safely secure the nuclear plant is for the complete withdrawal of Russian military forces as well as all ROSATOM personnel and an end to the war. Meanwhile ROSATOM has so far been spared of international sanctions (4) and continues its nuclear trade with Europe and the rest of the world despite its direct role in the seizure and occupation of the Zaporizhzhia reactors.
“The threat to the safety of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant will continue so long as the Russian military and ROSATOM remain at the site. And the military threat to all of Ukraine’s nuclear plants will end only when Russia ends its war against Ukraine. The only legitimate authority at Zaporizhzhia is Ukraine’s nuclear regulatory authority, SRNIU and the plant operator Energoatom. There should be no further delay in applying sanctions against ROSATOM which are long overdue and must be comprehensive including an end to all companies still trading with the Russian nuclear industry,” said Denys Tsutsaiev, campaigner with Greenpeace CEE in Kyiv.
The Russian attack and seizure of the Zaporizhzhia and Chornobyl nuclear plants and threats to Ukraine’s other reactors are a unique event in the 70-year history of nuclear power. Warnings of major vulnerability of nuclear reactors to armed attack, including risks to the electrical grid and cooling functions of reactor core and spent nuclear fuel pools, for decades were ignored by the global nuclear industry and regulators. (5) As the West European Nuclear Regulators Association (WENRA) stated in August 2022, “No nuclear power plant has ever been designed to consider potential war-induced damage in its safety demonstration.” (6). While the nuclear industry plans to operate nuclear reactors for 60 years and beyond, acts of war towards nuclear installations can never be excluded and safety and security in times of war cannot be guaranteed.
“The elephant in the room that the nuclear industry does not want to talk about is that reactor safety is severely compromised and at risk of catastrophic failure in the event of war. Ignoring the lessons from Zaporizhzhia and Chornobyl nuclear sites and threats to the other nuclear reactors during Russia’s war against Ukraine is not an option. There needs to be stress tests for all operating European nuclear power stations, and we join the call for the European Commission and the European Nuclear Regulators Group to conduct “War Stress Tests”, comparable to the EU post-Fukushima nuclear stress tests from the last decade,” said Jan Haverkamp, nuclear specialist at Greenpeace Netherlands.
The ‘War Stress Tests’, should include assessments on the vulnerability of reactors to loss of offsite electrical power and impact on essential reactor functions, such as cooling systems.
For further information:
Jan Haverkamp, senior expert nuclear energy and energy policy at Greenpeace Netherlands, email@example.com, +31 621 334 619
Denys Tsutsaiev, energy campaigner with Greenpeace Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) in Kyiv, firstname.lastname@example.org, +38 068 594 4100
 As a result of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in March 2011, nuclear regulators in Europe and North America applied stress tests to assess the safety vulnerability of nuclear power plants and other facilities to major external hazards. See for example, “Critical Review of the EU Stress Test performed on Nuclear Power Plants”, 2012, https://www.greenpeace.org/static/planet4-netherlands-stateless/2018/06/Greenpeace-stress-test-report-final.pdf and “European post-Fukushima nuclear stress tests 2015 review of National Action Plans”, https://www.greenpeace.org/static/planet4-slovenia-stateless/2019/03/75adc1a6-75adc1a6-20150304_briefing_eu_stress_tests.pdf
 “The vulnerability of nuclear plants during military conflict: Lessons from Fukushima Daiichi Focus on Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine.” 2 March 2022, Greenpeace International, https://www.greenpeace.org/static/planet4-international-stateless/2022/03/6805cdd2-nuclear-power-plant-vulnerability-during-military-conflict-ukraine-technical-briefing.pdf and The vulnerability of nuclear plants during military conflict Yuzhnoukrainsk (South Ukraine) Nuclear Power Plant Safety and security risks - lessons from Fukushima Daiichi 28 March 2022, Greenpeace International, https://www.greenpeace.org/static/planet4-international-stateless/2022/03/52c280db-nuclear-power-plants-military-conflict-yuzhnoukrainsk-south-ukraine-briefing.pdf and interactive map - https://greenpeace.carto.com/u/greenpeacemaps/builder/02b713ad-ac13-485a-8fcf-02e62b22a6fb/embed
 The Greenpeace CEE March 2023 briefing contains a timeline of nuclear risks during the 12 months of occupation of Zaporizhzia and looks into issues that were raised over the year concerning nuclear safety, all relevant for other nuclear power stations operating worldwide. The analysis is based on day-by-day monitoring carried out by Greenpeace nuclear specialists since February 2022, the reporting of the Ukraine nuclear agency SNRIU and over 150 updates on the situation from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). https://greenpeace.at/uploads/2023/03/russian-attack-on-zaporizhzia-nuclear-plant.pdf
 “EU Commission scratches Russia nuclear sanctions plans”, 16 February 2023, https://www.politico.eu/article/rosatom-russia-ukraine-volodymyr-zelenskyy-vladimir-putin-eu-executive-scratches-russia-nuclear-sanctions-plans/
 See for example, Bennett Ramberg, “Military Sabotage of Nuclear Facilities: the Implications”, 1985 https://www.annualreviews.org/doi/pdf/10.1146/annurev.eg.10.110185.002431; Oda Becker, "Terrorist attacks with armor-piercing weapons (AT-14 Kornet-E) on German nuclear power plants" Report, public version, Greenpeace Germany e.V., Foreword by Heinz Smital, September 2010, see https://www.greenpeace.de/publikationen/KURZ_Panzerbrechende_Waffen_14092010_0.pdf,
Greenpeace France, "Report Summary, “Security of nuclear reactors and spent fuel pools in France and Belgium and related reinforcement measures”, October 2017, see https://cdn.greenpeace.fr/site/uploads/2017/10/Summary-of-the-report.pdf
 WENRA, “WENRA position on the safety situation of Zaporizhzhya NPP after reported shelling activities”, 10th August 2022, https://www.wenra.eu/sites/default/files/publications/WENRA%20ZNPP%20shelling%20paper_10%20August%202022.pdf