Ukraine update – Chornobyl radiation ‘not a danger to the public’

2 March 2022

Ukraine has informed the International Atomic Energy Agency that the country’s nuclear power plants are continuing to operate safely and securely, according to a statement from director general Rafael Mariano Grossi, reiterating his appeal for maximum restraint to avoid any action that could jeopardise plant safety.

Ukraine told the IAEA that ‘unidentified armed forces’ had taken control of the facilities of the State Specialised Enterprise Chornobyl NPP located within the Exclusion Zone. Director general Grossi said it was of vital importance that the safe and secure operations of the zone’s nuclear facilities should not be affected or disrupted in any way.

Regarding earlier reports of higher radiation measurements at the Chornobyl site, Ukraine’s regulatory authority said that they may have been caused by heavy military vehicles stirring up soil still contaminated from the 1986 accident.

The IAEA assesses that the readings reported by the regulator – of up to 9.46 microSieverts per hour – are low and remain within the operational range measured in the Exclusion Zone since it was established, and therefore “do not pose any danger to the public.”

The IAEA continues to closely monitor this and other developments in Ukraine, and undertakes to provide regular updates on the situation with a special focus on the safety and security of its nuclear reactors. The IAEA is in constant contact with its Ukraine counterpart, which regularly provides the Agency with updated information, said director general Grossi, although he added that he remained gravely concerned about the overall situation in the country.

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