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International Atomic Energy Agency aims to ensure Ukraine nuclear facility safety

Austria IAEA
Posted at 3:36 PM, Mar 10, 2022

(BERLIN) - While the situation regarding Ukraine’s nuclear facilities is “complex and difficult,” the head of the U.N. nuclear agency said Thursday that he is in contact with all sides to ascertain how to help ensure the safety of the country’s nuclear facilities.

Rafael Grossi, the director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, told reporters Thursday evening in Vienna that the nuclear watchdog has ”scheduled physical inspections” of nuclear facilities in Ukraine. He would not give any details on when or how those inspections would take place citing the sensitivity of the situation.

Grossi added that the IAEA also has “a number of remote monitoring devices” in operation.

When it comes to nuclear facilities based in conflict zones, the director-general said “we are trying to make sure that we will not have again added suffering because of any radioactive release or anything having to do with nuclear facilities.”

Grossi said he does not expect any side to intentionally target nuclear reactors, but there was the risk of unintentional shelling. He also stressed that at facilities taken by the Russian military, but operated by Ukrainian staff, it was paramount that employees get enough rest to be focused while working.

Grossi told reporters that there was not immediate danger of power cuts at the decommissioned Chernobyl plant, which Russian forces seized last week, and that even in the case of power cuts there would be “ample time” to restore it before anything dangerous could happen.