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Update 35 – IAEA Director General Statement on Situation in Ukraine

Vienna, Austria, posted at 18:15

Ukraine informed the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) today that a nuclear research facility in the north-eastern city of Kharkiv had suffered additional damage when it came under renewed fire a few days ago, but its small amount of nuclear material remained intact, Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi said.

The facility, which has been hit by shelling previously during the conflict, has been used for  research and development and radioisotope production for medical and industrial applications. Its nuclear material is subcritical – there can be no nuclear chain reaction – and the radioactive inventory is low.

Ukraine told the IAEA on Saturday that the facility had come under fire again but that it was not yet possible to assess the damage. In today’s update, Ukraine said the building, its thermal insulation and the experimental hall were damaged, but the neutron source, that contains nuclear material used to generate neutrons for research and isotope production, was not.

Regarding the staffing situation at the Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant (NPP), Ukraine said there were no new developments from yesterday’s update. The last rotation of technical personnel working at the site of the 1986 accident took place a week ago. Russian forces took control of the site on 24 February.

Out of the country’s 15 operational reactors at four sites, the regulator said eight were continuing to operate, including two at the Russian-controlled Zaporizhzhya NPP, three at Rivne, one at Khmelnytskyy, and two at South Ukraine. The other reactors are shut down for regular maintenance, it added.

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.

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