Ukraine has informed the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) about continuing operational challenges at the Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) due to the Russian occupation of the site between 24 February and 31 March, Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi said today.
Five weeks after Russian forces withdrew from the Chornobyl NPP, Ukraine said several facilities at the site still cannot operate normally because of, for example, disrupted logistical routes for the supply of equipment and spare parts, and lack of safe access for the necessary number of personnel to ensure safe operation. As a result, the regulatory body has been taking regulatory action including suspending some of the licences at this site.
“This demonstrates that there is still much to do to restore Chornobyl to normal operation. The IAEA is supporting Ukraine in its efforts to ensure nuclear safety and security at this site and the country’s other nuclear facilities,” Director General Grossi said. He met the head of Ukraine’s regulatory body, Oleh Korikov, in Vienna on Thursday and also last week at Chornobyl, when the IAEA delivered safety-related equipment, conducted radiological measurements and restored transmission of safeguards data.
On a positive note, the Director General said he welcomed Ukraine’s re-establishment of regulatory control of the Chornobyl NPP, where various radioactive waste management facilities are located after the 1986 accident.
Ukraine separately informed the IAEA today that there had been no significant developments related to nuclear safety and security in the country over the past 24 hours.
Regarding the country’s 15 operational reactors at four NPPs, Ukraine said seven are currently connected to the grid, including two at the Russian-controlled Zaporizhzhya NPP, two at the Rivne NPP, two at the South Ukraine NPP, and one at the Khmelnytskyy NPP. The eight 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.
In relation to safeguards, following last week’s visit of IAEA inspectors and technicians to the Chornobyl NPP, data from all unattended monitoring systems installed at the site has now been fully recovered. Also, as a result of the deployment of new transmission channels based on satellite technologies, the remote transfer of the safeguards data to the Agency’s Vienna headquarters has been fully restored with the exception of one facility for which technical work is still required. The transmission from the Chornobyl NPP had been interrupted for two months. For the other NPPs in Ukraine, remote data continues to be transferred to the IAEA.