France to prepare safety plan to protect Ukraine’s nuclear sites

President Emmanuel Macron ‘extremely concerned about the risks to nuclear safety,’ says Elysee.

France to prepare safety plan to protect Ukraine’s nuclear sites

France strongly condemned on Friday attacks by Russia on Ukrainian civil nuclear installations and proposed to draft an emergency security plan to protect nuclear sites, the president’s office said in a statement.

In the coming hours France, along with its main partners, will propose concrete measures to ensure the safety and security of Ukraine's five main nuclear sites based on International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) technical criteria, it said.

“It is imperative to guarantee their safety and security,” it added.

It includes the now-defunct Chernobyl plant -- site of a disaster in 1986, which is now under Russia's control -- along with Zaporizhzhia that was seized Thursday.

Ukraine has three other active nuclear power plants -- Khmelnytskyi, Rivne and Yuzhnoukrainsk, and 15 reactors.

The Elysee said President Emmanuel Macron held talks with Director-General of the IAEA Rafael Mariano Grossi and the French leader said he was “extremely concerned about the risks to nuclear safety, security and the implementation of international safeguards resulting from the Russian invasion of Ukraine.”

Macron said Moscow must “immediately cease its illegal and dangerous military actions in order to allow Ukrainian authorities full control over all nuclear facilities,” and “also allow free, regular and unimpeded access of personnel to the facilities to ensure their continued safe operation.”

All of this comes after Russian forces carried out missile attacks and seized Zaporizhzhia, Europe’s largest nuclear power plant.

Grossi warned in a statement that overnight fighting had put several nuclear safety and security sites at risk although there had been no release of radioactive material from a fire that was later extinguished.