Russia Ukraine War: Chernobyl workers at risk due to Russian shelling

Vienna: The Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said Ukrainian authorities have informed that workers of the now-defunct Chernobyl nuclear power plant were at risk due to continued Russian shelling of checkpoints in the city of Slavutych.

According to the UN watchdog, many people working at the plant live in the city which is located outside the Exclusion Zone that was established around the site after the 1986 nuclear catastrophe.

In a statement on Thursday, the IAEA citing Ukraine’s regulatory authority said the shelling was endangering “the homes and families of those operational personnel that ensure the nuclear and radiation safety” of the plant, which fell to the Russian forces on February 24, the day Moscow launched its invasion of Kiev.

It was also “preventing further rotation of personnel to and from the site”.

Although operations stopped at the plant after the disaster, Chernobyl was never fully abandoned and still requires constant management.

IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi has expressed concern over the development, which comes just a few days after technical staff at Chernobyl were finally able to rotate and go to their homes in Slavutych and rest after working for nearly four weeks without a change of shift.

He said the IAEA would continue to closely monitor the situation.

According to the Ukrainian regulatior, out of the country’s 15 reactors at four sites, eight were continuing to operate, including two at the Russia-controlled Zaporizhzhya plant, three at Rivne, one at Khmelnytskyy, and two at South Ukraine.

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