The Ukrainian nuclear regulatory authority has officially informed the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that on April 16, 2022, on-site video surveillance recorded the flight of a missile flying directly above the nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine. “The IAEA is looking into this matter which, if confirmed, would be extremely serious. If such a missile had strayed, it could have had a serious impact on the physical integrity of the nuclear power plant, potentially leading to a nuclear accident,” said director general Rafael Mariano Grossi.
The Managing Director published a report April 28 which provides a summary of the situation in Ukraine regarding the safety, security and safeguards of nuclear facilities, and activities involving radioactive sources in Ukraine. It includes the actions taken by the IAEA in response to Ukraine’s request for assistance and some initial findings of the IAEA expert missions to Ukraine led by the Director General.
These actions include the delivery specialized equipment to Ukraine to help the country ensure the safety and security of its nuclear facilities during the ongoing conflict.
In response to a previous request for equipment from Ukraine, an IAEA team, led by Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi, arrived at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant on April 26 to perform radiological assessments and restore systems as well as to deliver equipment such as detectors, spectrometers and personal protective clothing.
The equipment package includes personal radiation detectors to detect and monitor radiation levels throughout the site. These rugged and versatile personal radiation detectors are widely used by nuclear safety and security experts worldwide.
“The equipment, under the direction of our field staff, can be operational within minutes and can immediately help Chernobyl personnel fulfill their nuclear safety and security tasks,” said Carlos Torres Vidal, Director of the Center. of IAEA Incidents and Emergencies. .
The IAEA team also handed over spectrometers that assess the level of radiation in the environment and provide a spectrum that looks like a fingerprint identifying the type of radiation. This will help Chernobyl personnel to assess the radiological situation at the site and the exclusion zone, which extends 30 kilometers around the plant.
Spectrometers carried in personal backpacks were provided to support extensive surveys with GPS mapping capabilities. The backpack allows the user to focus on walking safely through an area instead of staring at a screen and numbers. This is especially necessary in an area like the exclusion zone.
Due to the conflict and the conditions that prevailed after the 1986 accident, the situation in the exclusion zone is particularly difficult. Ukraine recently informed the IAEA that the Chernobyl analytical laboratories for radiation monitoring had been destroyed and analytical instruments had been stolen, broken or otherwise taken out of service.
The IAEA assistance team also brought personal protective equipment from Vienna. This protective clothing provides protection against certain types of radiation, as well as against radioactive contamination and inhalation, and therefore helps to manage the risks posed to personnel who, due to the nature of their work, are exposed to radiation.
In addition to nuclear safety and security assistance, IAEA safeguards personnel traveled as part of the Chernobyl Assistance Team to carry out safeguards work on site. They will install equipment to reactivate the remote transmission of data from its monitoring systems installed at the Chernobyl power plant.
The agency said the mission was only a “first step” and that more equipment would be delivered to Ukraine in the weeks and months to come.