Intl nuclear watchdog claims it’s not getting data from Chernobyl plant
The Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has revealed that the organization is no longer receiving data from the Chernobyl power plant, needed to remotely monitor nuclear materials left at the site. On February 25, Russian troops took over the defunct power plant that saw a major nuclear accident back in 1986.
On Tuesday, Rafael Grossi, the Director General of the IAEA, said that “remote data transmission from safeguards monitoring systems installed at the Chornobyl NPP had been lost.”
The systems are supposed to prevent the spread of nuclear material outside the security perimeter.
The watchdog also noted that it was looking “into the status of safeguards monitoring systems in other locations in Ukraine and will provide further information soon.”
The Chernobyl power plant, while not producing electricity, still requires constant management from the staff. The IAEA has voiced concern over claims made by Ukraine’s nuclear regulator that more than 200 personnel have had to work for nearly two weeks on end since the Russian takeover.
Kiev says that employees working at the plant are facing food and water shortages.
In light of these reports, Rafael Grossi has called “on the forces in effective control of the site to urgently facilitate the safe rotation of personnel there.” The IAEA’s chief also warned that the “difficult and stressful situation facing staff at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant” could potentially entail serious risks.
Last week, Grossi said that he was prepared to travel to the Chernobyl exclusion zone to hold talks between Russia and Ukraine to ensure the site’s safety. Moscow has supported the idea in principle but suggested another location for the meeting.
On March 4, Russian forces also seized the Zaporozhskaya Nuclear Power Plant, which is the largest facility of the kind in Europe. A shootout and fire on its grounds sparked concerns worldwide and saw accusations levelled at Russia that it was risking a nuclear disaster. Kiev and Moscow accused each other of provoking the situation.
According to the IAEA, two of the six reactors there are still operating, with the plant’s personnel continuing to work, and radiation levels remaining stable.