IAEA reports no significant developments in Ukraine

7 April 2022

Ukraine informed the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on 6 April that there had been no significant new developments related to nuclear safety or security in the country over the past 24 hours, Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi said.

As to Ukraine’s operational reactors, one of the two units at the Khmelnitsky nuclear plant had been reconnected to the grid after regulator maintenance. As a result, eight of Ukraine’s 15 reactors are currently operating, including two at the Russian-controlled Zaporozhye plant, three at Rovno, two at South Ukraine, and now one at the Khmelnitsky. The seven other reactors are shut down for regular maintenance or held in reserve.

In relation to safeguards, the IAEA said that the situation remained 'unchanged' and it was still not receiving remote data transmission from its monitoring systems installed at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, but such data was being transferred to IAEA headquarters from the other NPPs in Ukraine. 

The previous day, IAEA said the process of resuming regulatory control at the Chernobyl NPP had begun. Ukraine also reported that the next rotation of operational personnel working at the Chernobyl site will be possible only when security conditions allow it. Many power plant personnel live in the city of Slavutych outside the 30-kilometre Exclusion Zone set up after the 1986 accident. Representatives of the State Administration of the Exclusion Zone are currently in the Zone, carrying out checks at storage facilities and other facilities outside the NPP site, Ukraine added. 

On 4 April, Ukraine had informed IAEA that “the morale and the emotional state” of staff working at Zaporozhye were “very low”. IAEA said the staffing situation had seriously compromised one of the seven indispensable pillars of nuclear safety and security stating that “operating staff must be able to fulfil their safety and security duties and have the capacity to make decisions free of undue pressure”.

Grossi said: “It is unacceptable and unsustainable that staff are working under circumstances that could severely affect their wellbeing and so have a negative impact on the safe and secure operation of these nuclear facilities.” He added: “As I said during my visit to the South Ukraine NPP last week, the staff there and at the other Ukrainian nuclear sites deserve our deep admiration and sincere gratitude for their resilience and determination in carrying out their important work duties.”

In the north-eastern city of Kharkiv, Ukraine informed the IAEA on 3 April that an unexploded ordnance spotted late last month near a nuclear research facility on closer inspection had turned out to be the body of a rocket without its explosive tip and therefore did not pose a danger. The facility still has no power because of previous damage to its electrical transformer, it said, adding shelling in the area made it difficult to restore electricity. The facility was used for research and development and radioisotope production for medical and industrial applications. Its nuclear material is subcritical and the radioactive inventory is low.

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