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IAEA Press Release

2000/18 (1 September 2000)

The Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Mr. Mohamed ElBaradei, visited Ukraine at the invitation of the Ukrainian Government August 28–30, 2000.

In addition to meetings with Government Ministers and senior officials, he travelled to the Chernobyl nuclear power plant as well as to the surrounding area evacuated after the accident in 1986 and to waste-related facilities. The visit took place against the background of the announced closure of Chernobyl's last operating unit (unit 3) in December and the steps being taken to strengthen the sarcophagus at unit 4.

It was agreed that the issue of decommissioning the Chernobyl plant will be considered as the first priority in the IAEA’s technical co-operation programme for Ukraine within the scope of the 2001–2002 programme. To that end a comprehensive conceptual plan for decommissioning all four units will be prepared by Ukraine with Agency assistance. It was also agreed that the Agency would continue to provide technical expertise to Ukraine throughout the process of decommissioning.

In addition to decommissioning the IAEA will continue inter alia to assist Ukraine with strengthening the effectiveness of its safety regulatory regime, upgrading the safety of its operating nuclear power plants, ensuring the safe management of nuclear wastes, enhancing the country’s nuclear and radiation safety infrastructure, and the development of a long term energy policy.