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Update 59 – IAEA Director General Statement on Situation in Ukraine

Vienna, Austria

Ukraine informed the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) today that staff rotation at the Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) was now “taking place regularly and according to plan”, three weeks after Russian forces withdrew from the site, Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi said.

The Director General said the development represented major progress both for the well-being of the NPP’s personnel – who have been living and working under extremely stressful circumstances during the conflict – and for the safe and secure operation of the plant. Ukraine told the IAEA on 10 April that it had carried out the first staff rotation at the Chornobyl NPP in three weeks and only the second since Russian forces seized the site on 24 February and held it for five weeks.

“It is very positive that staff at this important nuclear facility can now carry out their activities in a more normal situation after many weeks of working in very difficult conditions, allowing them to go home for rest and to see their families on a regular basis. They have demonstrated admirable courage and resilience in continuing to conduct their vital duties also during the conflict. When I visit the site later this month, I will be able to thank them personally,” he said.

Director General Grossi plans to head a mission of IAEA experts to Chornobyl later in April to conduct nuclear safety, security and radiological assessments, deliver vital equipment and repair the Agency’s remote safeguards monitoring systems there.

One of the seven indispensable pillars of nuclear safety that he outlined at the beginning of the conflict states that “operating staff must be able to fulfil their safety and security duties and have the capacity to make decisions free of undue pressure.”

Regarding the country’s 15 operational reactors at four nuclear power plants, Ukraine said seven are currently connected to the grid, including two at the Russian-controlled Zaporizhzhya NPP, two at the Rivne NPP, two at the South Ukraine NPP, and one at the Khmelnytskyy NPP. The eight other reactors are shut down for regular maintenance or held in reserve. Safety systems remain operational at the four NPPs and they also continue to have off-site power available, Ukraine said.

In relation to safeguards, the IAEA said it 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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