The UN nuclear watchdog says its director general has arrived in Ukraine for talks with senior government officials on providing “emergency technical assistance” to ensure the safety of the country’s nuclear facilities.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) says Rafael Mariano Grossi’s goal is to “start immediate security and safety assistance” for Ukraine’s nuclear sites. This includes sending IAEA experts to “priority facilities” that it has not identified, and sending “critical security and safety supplies” including monitoring and emergency equipment.
It said Grossi would visit a nuclear power plant in Ukraine this week, but did not say which. Ukraine has 15 nuclear reactors at four active power plants and is the site of the 1986 Chernobyl plant, the site of the 1986 nuclear disaster. Russian forces have taken control of the largest active power plants in Chernobyl and Zaporizhiya.
The IAEA chief has been pushing for an agreement with Ukraine and Russia on the security of Ukraine’s nuclear power plant for weeks. He met with the foreign ministers of the two countries in Turkey earlier this month.
He said on Tuesday that Ukraine had requested the assistance of his agency and that “we will now start supplying it.”
“There have been several close calls already. We can no longer waste time, “he added.” This conflict has already caused unimaginable human suffering and destruction. It requires the IAEA’s expertise and capabilities to prevent it from leading to a nuclear accident. “
The IAEA, among other things, has expressed concern about the lack of regular staff rotation at the Chernobyl site, raising questions about workers’ ability to work without undue pressure and power outages. It says it is not receiving data transmission from the monitoring system installed in Chernobyl, but is receiving data from other plants in Ukraine.
As of Monday, the IAEA said Ukraine’s nuclear regulator had told it that eight of Ukraine’s 15 reactors were still operating, including two in Russian-controlled Zaporizhia. Others were shut down for routine maintenance, it said.