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Update 28 – IAEA Director General Statement on Situation in Ukraine

Vienna, Austria, posted at 20:36 CET

Ukraine informed the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that the long-delayed rotation of technical staff at the Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) was completed today, enabling them to go home and rest for the first time since Russian forces took control of the site last month, Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi said.

Ukraine’s regulatory authority said about half of the outgoing shift of technical staff left the site of the 1986 accident yesterday and the rest followed today, with the exception of thirteen staff members who declined to rotate. Most Ukrainian guards also remained at the site, it added.

Damaged roads and bridges had complicated the transportation of staff to the nearby city of Slavutych, the regulator said. The staff had been at Chornobyl since the day before Russian forces took control of the site on 24 February. They left after handing over operations to newly arrived Ukrainian colleagues who replaced them after nearly four weeks.

The new work shift also comes from Slavutych and includes two supervisors instead of the usual one to ensure that there is back-up available on the site, the regulator said. An agreement had been reached on how to organize future staff rotations at the NPP, where various radioactive waste management facilities are located, it said. 

Director General Grossi, who had repeatedly expressed deep concern about the well-being of the Ukrainian staff at the Chornobyl NPP, welcomed the completion of the staff rotation and again praised them for their courage and tireless efforts in carrying out their vital work tasks during extremely difficult and stressful conditions in the presence of foreign military forces.

The Director General said he was continuing consultations with a view to agreeing on a framework aimed at ensuring the safety and security of all of Ukraine’s nuclear facilities. “With this framework in place, the Agency would be able to provide effective technical assistance for the safe and secure operation of these facilities,” he said.

In southern Ukraine, the two operating units of the Zaporizhzhya NPP continued to operate at two thirds of their maximum capacity of around 1000 Megawatt electric (MWe) each after the repair last week of two power lines, one off-site and one on-site, the regulator said. The Zaporizhzhya NPP now has three high voltage (750 kV) off-site power lines available, including one on standby. The regulator reiterated that the safety systems were fully functional at the NPP, which is controlled by Russian forces since 4 March.

On the status of Ukraine’s four operational NPPs, the Ukrainian regulator said eight of the country’s 15 reactors remained operating, including the two at the Zaporizhzhya NPP, three at Rivne, one at Khmelnytskyy, and two at South Ukraine. The radiation levels at all NPPs are in the normal range and safety systems are operating, it said.

A research reactor in the capital Kyiv was in a safe shutdown state, the regulator said.

In relation to safeguards, the Agency said that the situation remained unchanged from that reported previously. The Agency was still not receiving remote data transmission from its monitoring systems installed at the Chornobyl NPP, but such data was being transferred to IAEA headquarters from the other NPPs in Ukraine.


Last update: 07 May 2024

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