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UN Nuclear Watchdog Chief Visits Ukraine

UN Nuclear Watchdog Chief Visits Ukraine

Tuesday, 29 March, 2022 - 09:00
In this Monday, Sept. 16, 2019 file photo, Rafael Mariano Grossi, who has been chosen as the new head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, IAEA, attends a news conference at the International Center in Vienna, Austria. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak)

The UN nuclear watchdog said its director-general has arrived in Ukraine for talks with senior government officials on delivering “urgent technical assistance” to ensure the safety of the country’s nuclear facilities.

The International Atomic Energy Agency said Tuesday that Rafael Mariano Grossi’s aim is to “to initiate prompt safety and security support” for Ukraine’s nuclear sites. That will include sending IAEA experts to “prioritized facilities” and sending “vital safety and security supplies” including monitoring and emergency equipment.

It said that Grossi will travel to one of Ukraine’s nuclear power plants this week, but didn’t say which one, according to The Associated Press.

Ukraine has 15 nuclear reactors at four active power plants, and also is home to the decommissioned Chernobyl plant, the site of the 1986 nuclear disaster.

Russian forces have taken control of Chernobyl and of the largest active power plant, at Zaporizhzhia.

Grossi said in a statement that “the military conflict is putting Ukraine’s nuclear power plants and other facilities with radioactive material in unprecedented danger.”

He added that “there have already been several close calls. We can’t afford to lose any more time.”

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