UN Atomic Agency Chief Says He'll Lead Support Mission To Chernobyl 'As Soon As Possible'
By RFE/RL April 01, 2022
The head of the UN's nuclear watchdog, Rafael Grossi, says he will lead a support and assistance mission to Ukraine's Chernobyl nuclear power plant "as soon as possible."
"It will be the first in a series of such nuclear safety and security missions to #Ukraine," Grossi, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said in a tweet on April 1.
Grossi was in Ukraine this week for talks with senior government officials on the delivery of "urgent technical assistance" to ensure the safety and security of the country's nuclear facilities.
He is expected to hold a news conference later on April 1 upon his return to Vienna.
Previously Grossi has said he is "extremely concerned" about the situation in Ukraine after Russia launched an unprovoked invasion.
Russian forces have taken control of several of Ukraine's nuclear sites, including Chernobyl, where one of the world's worst nuclear accidents occurred in 1986.
Ukrainian staff have continued to manage the site even after Russian forces took control of the plant on February 24, the day that Moscow launched the invasion.
The Chernobyl plant is located north of Kyiv and close to the Belarusian border. Its nuclear reactors are enclosed in a giant steel and concrete sarcophagus and are not operating.
Although the plant is decommissioned, it needs electricity to power cooling systems for the spent nuclear fuel storage facility and other systems. Tons of waste at the plant must be constantly cooled to keep radiation from leaking.
Copyright (c) 2022. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.
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