The US has delicate nuclear know-how at a nuclear power plant inside Ukraine and is warning Russia to not contact it, in keeping with a letter the US Division of Power despatched to Russia’s state-owned nuclear power agency Rosatom final month.
Within the letter, which was reviewed by CNN and is dated March 17, 2023, the director of the Power Division’s Workplace of Nonproliferation Coverage, Andrea Ferkile, tells Rosatom’s director common that the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Energy Plant in Enerhodar “accommodates US-origin nuclear technical knowledge that’s export-controlled by the US Authorities.”
Items, software program and know-how are topic to US export controls when it’s doable for them for use in a means that undermines US nationwide safety pursuits.
The Power Division letter comes as Russian forces proceed to regulate the plant, which is the most important nuclear energy station in Europe and sits in part of the Zaporizhzhia area that Russia occupied after its invasion of Ukraine final February. The plant has ceaselessly been disconnected from Ukraine’s energy grid as a result of intense Russian shelling within the space, elevating fears throughout Europe of a nuclear accident.
Whereas the plant remains to be bodily operated by Ukrainian employees, Rosatom manages it. The Power Division warned Rosatom within the letter that it’s “illegal” for any Russian residents or entities to deal with the US know-how.
CNN has reached out to Rosatom for remark.
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“It’s illegal beneath United States regulation for non-authorized individuals, together with, however not restricted to, Russian residents and Russian entities,” the letter says, “comparable to Rosatom and its subsidiaries, to knowingly and willfully entry, possess, management, export, retailer, seize, evaluation, re-export, ship, switch, copy, manipulate such know-how or technical knowledge, or direct, or authorize others to do the identical, with out such Russian entities turning into licensed recipients by the Secretary of the US Division of Power.”
It’s not clear whether or not Rosatom has responded to the letter. The Power Division’s Nationwide Nuclear Safety Administration advised CNN in a press release that the letter is genuine.
The letters had been first reported by the information outlet RBC Ukraine.
“The Division of Power’s Nationwide Nuclear Safety Administration can verify that the letter is professional,” stated Shayela Hassan, the deputy director of public affairs for the Nationwide Nuclear Safety Administration.
She added: “The Secretary of Power has the statutory accountability for authorizing the switch of unclassified civilian nuclear know-how and help to international atomic power actions. DOE doesn’t touch upon regulatory actions.”
One other letter from Ferkile to the Power Division’s Inspector Basic, reviewed by CNN and dated October 24, 2022, outlines the know-how the US has exported to Ukraine to be used within the Zaporizhzhia plant and reiterates that the division has “no file of any present authorization to switch this know-how and technical knowledge to any Russian nationwide or entity.”
The Power Division’s Workplace of Nuclear Power has been public concerning the US’ assist for the plant, and acknowledged on its web site in June 2021 that “the US helped implement new upkeep procedures and operations on the reactor that ought to in the end strengthen power safety” in Ukraine.
CORRECTION: A earlier model of this story misattributed the information outlet that first reported the letters. It was RBC Ukraine.