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Update 7 – IAEA Director General Statement on Situation in Ukraine

Vienna, Austria, posted at 20:09 CET

Ukraine informed the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) today that the same staff had been working at the Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) since Russian forces last week took control of the site of the 1986 nuclear accident, Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi said, expressing his growing concern about their continued wellbeing and ability to do their jobs safely and effectively.

In a regular update to the IAEA, the State Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate of Ukraine (SNRIU) said it maintained communications with the Chornobyl site – whose personnel it said were carrying out their duties under “supervision” – and that no operation involving nuclear material had been conducted there since 24 February.

The Chornobyl NPP, located in an Exclusion Zone, has been undergoing decommissioning since the accident and significant amounts of nuclear material remain in various facilities at the site in the form of spent fuel and other radioactive waste.

“It is of utmost importance that the staff working at the Specialized Enterprise Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant are able to do their job safely and effectively, and that their personal wellbeing is guaranteed by those who have taken control,” Director General Grossi told the IAEA Board of Governors during a meeting in Vienna today on the situation in Ukraine.

Operating staff at all of Ukraine’s nuclear facilities – which also include 15 operational reactors at four sites – must be able to fulfil their safety and security duties and have the capacity to make decisions free of undue pressure, he added.

The Director General has repeatedly stressed that any military or other action that could threaten the safety or security of Ukraine’s nuclear power plants must be avoided.

In today’s update, SNRIU said it maintained communications with the country’s nuclear power plants, which it said continued to operate as before. Radiation levels remained normal at all sites and there had been no reports of nuclear or radiological incidents, it said.  Of Ukraine’s 15 reactors, more than half were operating at full capacity while others were undergoing scheduled maintenance or held “in reserve”, it added.

IAEA Member States feed information from automated radiation monitoring stations directly into the IAEA International Radiation Monitoring Information System (IRMIS). The IAEA on 1 March lost contact with such stations at the Zaporizhzhya NPP, the largest of Ukraine’s nuclear sites with six out of its 15 reactors, and today stopped receiving the same kind of data from another plant, the South Ukrainian NPP, with three units.

However, SNRIU later informed the IAEA that contact with the monitoring stations at the South Ukrainian NPP had been restored, saying the temporary loss of transmission to the IAEA was due to technical reasons and not related to military operations. Ukrainian specialists were seeking to determine the cause of the lost data transfer from the Zaporizhzhya NPP and to restore it, SNRIU added.

The IAEA continues to closely monitor developments in Ukraine, with a special focus on the safety and security of its nuclear power reactors. The IAEA remains in constant contact with its counterpart and will continue to provide regular updates on the situation in Ukraine.


Last update: 13 Mar 2022

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