According to the Vienna-based UN watchdog, Rafael Grossi, Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), will lead an assistance mission to Ukraine’s now-defunct Chernobyl nuclear power plant, aimed at stepping up efforts to help prevent a nuclear accident in the aftermath of the ongoing Moscow-Kiev war.
“A team of IAEA nuclear safety, security, and safeguards staff will be in Chernobyl from April 26 to deliver vital equipment and conduct radiological and other assessments at the site, which was held by Russian forces for five weeks before they withdrew on March 31,” according to a statement posted on the Agency’s website on Friday.
The IAEA team’s visit to the plant, according to Grossi, “will be of paramount importance for our mission.” Activities to support Ukraine as it seeks to restore regulatory control of the plant and ensure its safe and secure operation”.
“”It will be followed in the coming weeks by other IAEA missions to this and other nuclear plants in Ukraine.”
The team will give the operator with various types of radiation monitoring equipment, such as radionuclide identification devices and gamma dose rate metres, during their visit, according to the statement, which also stated that personal protective equipment will be delivered to the plant.
“We will be able to better comprehend the radiological situation there based on our scientific measurements and technical analyses,” Grossi added.
Ukraine has taken considerable steps to ensure the safe and secure functioning of the site of the world’s worst nuclear catastrophe, where numerous radioactive waste management facilities are currently located, after the evacuation of the Russian troops from the Chernobyl facility.
It has completed its first personnel rotation in three weeks, and it re-established direct contacts between the plant and the nuclear regulator earlier this week, which had been offline for more than a month.
However, the general situation in the Exclusion Zone, which surrounds the site, remains problematic, owing in part to broken bridges and de-mining work.