Ukraine tells the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) there has been no rotation of technical staff at Chornobyl for a week now.
First published: March 2022.
Ukraine told the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) today that it still did not know when the next staff rotation at the Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) might take place, almost a week after the most recent turnover of technical personnel at the site, Director-General Rafael Mariano Grossi said.
The last rotation was on 20-21 March, when a new shift of technical staff arrived from the nearby city of Slavutych to replace colleagues who had worked at the Chornobyl NPP since the Russian military took control of the site on 24 February.
The Director-General reiterated his concern about the difficult work conditions at the site of the 1986 accident. He said the IAEA continued to monitor the situation, following media reports of activities of Russian military forces in and around Slavutych, where many NPP staff live, because of the impact it could have on their ability to get to and from work.
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In the north-eastern city of Kharkiv, Ukraine informed the agency on Saturday evening that a nuclear research facility had come under renewed fire but it was not yet possible to assess the damage. The facility, which has also previously been hit, has been used for research and development and radioisotope production for medical and industrial applications. Its nuclear material is subcritical and the radioactive inventory is low.
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 in 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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- Text: This piece was published in PMP Magazine on 27 March 2022.
- Cover: Unsplash/Mick De Paola. - Reactor 3, Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant. (Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.)