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IAEA: No immediate nuclear safety concerns at Zaporizhzhia plant

This handout photo taken on Sept 1, 2022 and obtained from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on Sept 7, 2022 shows a general view of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant during an IAEA Support and Assistance Mission in Enerhodar, Zaporizhzhia Oblast, Ukraine.
(HANDOUT / IAEA)

VIENNA/OTTAWA/COPENHAGEN – The International Atomic Energy Agency said on Monday that there were "no immediate nuclear safety or security concerns" at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine despite intense shelling at the facility over the weekend.

The United Nations nuclear watchdog said in a statement that its experts at the Zaporizhzhia plant assessed the damage at the site earlier that day and found its "key equipment remained intact."

The status of the six reactor units is stable, and the integrity of the spent fuel, the fresh fuel and the low, medium and high-level radioactive waste in their respective storage facilities was confirmed.

The International Atomic Energy Agency

"The status of the six reactor units is stable, and the integrity of the spent fuel, the fresh fuel and the low, medium and high-level radioactive waste in their respective storage facilities was confirmed," the IAEA statement quoted its expert team as saying.

However, the IAEA said its experts "still observed widespread damage across the site" due to the shelling on Saturday evening and Sunday morning, described by the agency as "one of the most serious such incidents at the facility in recent months."

The experts' observations included damage to the plant's condensate storage tanks and several impacts on the main road along the plant's reactors, according to the statement.

Repair work for the damage is underway, the agency said, adding that there had been no further attacks on the plant on Monday.

ALSO READ: IAEA: Explosions rock area of Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant

The IAEA also said that its Director-General Rafael Grossi had intensified consultations to establish a protection zone at the Zaporizhzhia plant following the latest attacks on the facility.

The Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, one of the largest nuclear power plants in Europe, has been under the control of Russian forces since March.

In recent months, the plant has been attacked by shelling, with Russia and Ukraine accusing each other of the attacks.

An old woman walks in the Kherson region village of Arkhanhelske, Ukraine on Nov 3, 2022. (BULENT KILIC / AFP)

According to a press release issued by the Canadian Finance Ministry, the funds raised through the Ukraine Sovereignty Bond will assist the government of Ukraine so it can continue to provide essential services to Ukrainians this winter, such as pensions, the purchasing of fuel, and restoring energy infrastructure

Canada issues Ukraine Sovereignty Bond

Separately, the Canadian government launched on Monday the 500 million Canadian dollar ($400 million) Ukraine Sovereignty Bond.

According to a press release issued by the Canadian Finance Ministry, the funds will assist the government of Ukraine so it can continue to provide essential services to Ukrainians this winter, such as pensions, the purchasing of fuel, and restoring energy infrastructure.

Consistent with the terms of Canada's financial assistance to Ukraine to date, the funds cannot be used for lethal activities or purchases, and must be consistent with relevant sanctions laws and regulations, the release said.

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According to the release, Canadians who purchase the Ukraine Sovereignty Bond will, in effect, be purchasing a regular five-year Government of Canada bond at roughly the current 3.3 percent rate of return.

After the bond issuance has concluded, and subject to negotiations with Ukraine, an amount equal to the proceeds from the bond will be transferred to Ukraine through the International Monetary Fund Administered Account for Ukraine, the release said.  

Norway to assist Ukraine with gas procurement

Meanwhile, Norway will provide 2 billion Norwegian kroner ($195.4 million) under an agreement signed on Monday to fund Ukraine to purchase natural gas this winter, the Norwegian government said in a press release.

A cat stands on furniture in a family apartment in Kivsharivka, Ukraine on Oct 16, 2022. Residents in Kivsharivka have been living with no gas, electricity or running water supply for around three weeks. (FRANCISCO SECO / AP)

Norway will provide 2 billion Norwegian kroner ($195.4 million) under an agreement signed on Monday to fund Ukraine to purchase natural gas this winter, the Norwegian government said in a press release

Norway's Finance Minister Trygve Slagsvold Vedum and Juergen Rigterink, first vice-president of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), signed the agreement to channel the funds through the bank and then to Ukraine.

According to the press release, the funds are expected to be used to make direct payments to European gas suppliers that have received prior approval and will invoice for the volume of gas delivered.

READ MORE: Ukraine takes Kherson after Russian forces retreat

In Ukraine, the state-owned company Naftogaz will be the formal recipient.

"Ukraine has specifically asked Norway for support for the procurement of natural gas this winter. The timing is critical, and we are very pleased that the EBRD is to be our partner in carrying out gas purchases," Vedum was quoted in the press release as saying.

Norway's Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store said in July that his government would allocate 10 billion Norwegian kroner to Ukraine in 2022 and 2023. Of this sum, two billion NOK have been earmarked for gas procurement.