Interfax-Ukraine

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IAEA sends second expert mission to Chornobyl NPP

An expert mission sent by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is visiting the decommissioned Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) in Ukraine this week to carry out nuclear safety, security and safeguards activities, IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi has said.

According to a press release on the agency's website, the mission – the IAEA's second to the Chornobyl NPP in the past six weeks – is part of efforts to help ensure nuclear safety and security in the country during the current military conflict.

Ukraine, which also has four operating NPPs with a total of 15 reactors, has requested the IAEA's technical assistance in this regard, IAEA said.

According to the press release, during their three-day stay at the Chornobyl NPP and the Exclusion Zone around the facility, the team of IAEA specialists will provide support on radiation protection, safety of waste management and nuclear security, Grossi said. They will also conduct verification activities at the site, where various radioactive waste management facilities are located following the 1986 accident, he added.

One of the team's priorities is to provide technical advice on re-establishing the automated radiation monitoring system in the Chornobyl NPP's Exclusion Zone, which was interrupted early in the conflict and has not been providing such monitoring data since 24 February. The experts will also assess the status of the facilities at the site and provide training on radiation monitoring equipment delivered by the IAEA in April.

In addition, IAEA inspectors and technicians will verify declared nuclear material and activities and confirm the functioning of remote safeguards data transmission from the Chornobyl NPP to IAEA headquarters which was re-established last month.

According to the press release, the director general is now also continuing his efforts to organize an IAEA mission to Ukraine's largest nuclear power plant, the Russian-controlled Zaporizhia NPP, to carry out important nuclear safety, security and safeguards activities at this site in the country’s south.

At the same time, Ukraine previously categorically objected to such a visit until the station was vacated.

Regarding the country's operational reactors, Ukraine said eight are currently connected to the grid, including two at the Zaporizhia NPP, three at the Rivne NPP, two at Pivdennoukrainska NPP, and one at the Khmelnytsky NPP. The seven 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.

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