IAEA Fears Post-Invasion 'Disruption' As Chernobyl Radiation Reportedly “Higher, But Not Critical”

IAEA Fears Post-Invasion ‘Disruption’ As Chernobyl Radiation Reportedly “Higher, But Not Critical”

Russian forces moved closer to the Ukrainian capital Friday as new concerns mount if the invasion threatens more than a dozen nuclear reactors operating at full capacity.  

In a statement, IAEA’s Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi said he “is closely monitoring developments in Ukraine with a special focus on the safety and security of its nuclear power plants and other nuclear-related facilities.” 

Ukraine’s energy officials are fanning the flames about the situation at the defunct Chernobyl nuclear power plant. On Thursday, Ukraine’s government confirmed Russian forces seized the facility. IAEA said “unidentified armed forces” have taken control of all facilities of Chernobyl, adding, “there had been no casualties nor destruction at the industrial site.” 

On Friday, Reuters reports Ukraine’s nuclear agency and interior ministry warned about rising radiation levels at the now Russian-occupied Chernobyl atomic power plant. However, there was no explanation of the exact radiation levels. 

“Radiation starts to increase. It is not critical for Kyiv for the time being, but we are monitoring,” the interior ministry said.

The concern is that the movement of tanks and armored vehicles in the area is lifting radioactive dust into the air. 

Despite Ukrainian officials inciting atomic dust fears for Kyiv and neighboring countries, Poland has yet to record any increase in radiation levels. 

Besides Chernobyl, there are 15 atomic reactors in the country, Europe’s second-biggest nuclear fleet, and IAEA remains in constant contact with Ukrainian nuclear-safety regulators as reactors need continuous electricity and water to operate. 

Grossi said, “an armed attack on and threat against nuclear facilities devoted to peaceful purposes constitutes a violation of the principles of the United Nations Charter, international law and the Statute of the Agency.” 

On the first day of the invasion, we reported that Russian forces used Chernobyl as a “staging point that couldn’t be shelled” because of the nuclear waste in the soil. Speculation remains that should the site come under direct shelling, nuclear contamination could be released into the air, potentially impacting other areas in Europe. 

As for now, Russia appears to have no interest in targeting nuclear power plants as that would constitute a significant United Nations Charter violation. It seems they’re using Chernobyl as a strategic staging area as Ukrainian forces cannot shell the area due to the risk of lifting radioactive dust in the air. Western media incites fears that radioactive dust is already circulating in the air but provides little to no evidence. 

Here’s the IAEA’s complete statement on the nuclear reactor situation in Ukraine. 

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is following the situation in Ukraine with grave concern and is appealing for maximum restraint to avoid any action that may put the country’s nuclear facilities at risk, Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi said today.

In line with its mandate, the IAEA is closely monitoring developments in Ukraine with a special focus on the safety and security of its nuclear power plants and other nuclear-related facilities, he said.

The Ukraine regulatory body, the counterpart, has earlier informed the IAEA that it is maintaining communications with Ukraine’s operational nuclear power plants, which it said are operating safely and securely.

Regarding the situation at the Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant, Ukraine has informed the IAEA that” unidentified armed forces” have taken control of all facilities of the State Specialized Enterprise Chornobyl NPP, located within the Exclusion Zone. The counterpart added that there had been no casualties nor destruction at the industrial site. Director General Grossi said it is of vital importance that the safe and secure operations of the nuclear facilities in that zone should not be affected or disrupted in any way.

The Director General stressed that the IAEA General Conference – the annual gathering of all the organization’s Member States – adopted a decision in 2009 saying “any armed attack on and threat against nuclear facilities devoted to peaceful purposes constitutes a violation of the principles of the United Nations Charter, international law and the Statute of the Agency”.

The IAEA remains in permanent contact with its Ukrainian counterpart.

Tyler Durden
Fri, 02/25/2022 – 12:15

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