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Update 40 – IAEA Director General Statement on Situation in Ukraine

Vienna, Austria, posted at 19:23 CEST

Ukraine informed the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) today that it was “analyzing the possibility” of resuming regulatory control of the Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant (NPP), after Russian forces withdrew from the site, Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi said.

Ukraine also said it was preparing for the rotation of Chornobyl NPP staff, including making an assessment of their safety, but no date had yet been set for this. The most recent turnover of technical personnel at the site took place on 20-21 March, which in turn was the first change of work shift since late February.

Ukraine told the IAEA on Thursday that Russian forces were leaving the Chornobyl NPP after controlling the site for five weeks. The withdrawal was confirmed by senior Russian officials at a meeting with Director General Grossi in the Russian city of Kaliningrad on Friday morning. Ukraine later told the IAEA that while all Russian forces had left the NPP site, the situation in the Exclusion Zone around the plant was unclear. Many NPP staff live in the city of Slavutych outside the 30-kilometre Exclusion Zone set up after the 1986 accident.

Russian forces entered the Chornobyl NPP, where radioactive waste management facilities are located, on 24 February. On 4 March, they also took control of one of Ukraine’s four operating nuclear power plants, the Zaporizhzhya NPP in the country’s south.

Director General Grossi intends to head an IAEA assistance and support mission to Chornobyl as soon as it is possible, the first in a series of such nuclear safety and security missions he plans to send to the country, which has 15 operational nuclear energy reactors at four sites in addition to the Chornobyl plant. IAEA experts will provide both on-site and off-site technical assessment and advice. The IAEA will also deliver safety equipment, where needed. 

Out of the country’s operational reactors, Ukraine said seven were operating, including two at the Russian-controlled Zaporizhzhya NPP, three at Rivne, and two at South Ukraine. The other reactors are shut down for regular maintenance, including both units at the Khmelnytskyy NPP.

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: 03 Apr 2022

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