IAEA Chief Visits Chernobyl Accident Site, Calls for Strengthened Nuclear Safety

IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano (right) with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon (left) and the Ukrainian President, Viktor Yanukovych (center), meet the press during their visit to the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine, 20 April 2011. (Photo: D. Calma/IAEA)

On Wednesday, 20 April 2011, together with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and the Ukrainian President, Viktor Yanukovych, IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano visited the site of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant accident, which took place on 26 April 1986.

Speaking with the media at the site, the Director General said that nuclear power remains an important option to ensure a diverse energy supply, but emphasized that the international community must do its utmost to ensure its safe operation.

On the second and final day of his official trip to Ukraine, the Director General then returned to Kiev to participate in the International Conference on Chernobyl: Twenty-Five Years On - Safety for the Future where he joined the Ukrainian President, the UN Secretary General, the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Thorbjørn Jagland, and the President of the Europe Commission, José Barroso.

In his address to the Conference, Director General Amano noted that while the world was preparing to mark the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear accident, a very serious accident occurred at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan, which is still continuing. "While that accident needs to be assessed and the appropriate lessons must be learned," he said, "this latest accident demonstrates that, despite the great progress made in the last 25 years, more needs to be done to ensure that a 'Safety First' approach becomes fully entrenched among nuclear power plant operators, governments and regulators." The full text of his statement can be accessed here.

On 19 April 2011, IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano began his two-day visit to Ukraine, where he addressed the Kiev Summit for Safe and Innovative Use of Nuclear Energy providing an update on the situation following the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan.

Since the 11 March nuclear accident, the Director General stated that the IAEA had sent radiation monitoring teams, experts on food safety and the marine environment, as well as specialists in Boiling Water Reactors to Japan. The Agency was providing regular technical briefings to Member States and the media on the situation.

He also briefed participants on an IAEA Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Safety which will be held in Vienna from 20 to 24 June. The Conference is likely to make a preliminary assessment of the Fukushima Daiichi accident, to review nuclear safety generally and to examine the international emergency response system. The Director General stressed that the IAEA will play a central role in these deliberations, as well as in future efforts to further strengthen nuclear safety.

During his initial day in Kiev, the Director General also met the French Prime Minister, Francois Fillon.

Last update: 10 September 2014