Russia destroyed Ukraine nuclear neutron generator - IAEA chief

Asked if this meant that Russia had attacked a facility protected by IAEA safeguards rules, Grossi paused, but then answered, "yes, when there is nuclear material."

‘THERE IS less access, let’s face it.’ Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency Rafael Mariano Grossi ahead of a virtual IAEA Board of Governors meeting at the IAEA headquarters in Vienna last year. (photo credit: CHRISTIAN BRUNA/REUTERS)
‘THERE IS less access, let’s face it.’ Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency Rafael Mariano Grossi ahead of a virtual IAEA Board of Governors meeting at the IAEA headquarters in Vienna last year.
(photo credit: CHRISTIAN BRUNA/REUTERS)

IAEA Director-General Rafael Grossi on Monday told a press conference that Russia's military assault on Ukraine's Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Station led to the destruction of a neutron generator in one of the facilities on the campus.

His answer came in response to a question from the media about what would happen if Russia's attack harmed the generator.

Until now it had been reported that Russian forces fired on the facility, but the results of the attack were unknown.

"Apparently it has been destroyed," said Grossi matter-of-factly, leaving the assembled media shocked.

However, he then tried to assure those present that the situation would not be a new Chernobyl-style disaster, saying, "the neutron generator facility had a very small inventory. It was a subcritical facility to use neutrons for scientific experiments."

 IAEA DIRECTOR-GENERAL Rafael Grossi speaks at a news conference during a Board of Governors meeting in Vienna in September. (credit: Leonhard Foeger/Reuters) IAEA DIRECTOR-GENERAL Rafael Grossi speaks at a news conference during a Board of Governors meeting in Vienna in September. (credit: Leonhard Foeger/Reuters)

"It was a relatively new one [facility], part of an operation between the US and Ukraine from the Obama administration. It was a scientific institute," he said.

Asked if this meant that Russia had attacked a facility protected by IAEA safeguards rules, Grossi paused, but then answered, "Yes, when there is nuclear material," meaning since there had been nuclear material there, Russia's attack violated IAEA international protection rules.