IAEA loses contact with Chernobyl power plant control systems

The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency wants to obtain from all parties a “commitment to the safety and security” of Ukraine’s power plants.

The International Atomic Energy Agency warned nearly two weeks after the Russian military took control of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. According to her, the systems that allow remote control of the plant’s nuclear materials have stopped sending data to it.

In a statement issued on Tuesday,“Remote transmission of data from safeguards monitoring systems installed at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant has been cut off,” notes Rafael Grossi, head of the UN nuclear watchdog.

The International Atomic Energy Agency uses the term “safeguards” to describe the technical measures it applies to nuclear materials and activities with the aim of deterring the spread of nuclear weapons through early detection of the misuse of these materials.

Factory employees ‘in a difficult and stressful situation’

Since the Russians seized the plant at the end of February, more than 200 technicians and guards have been stuck at the site, working 13 days in a row under Russian surveillance. The IAEA asked Russia to allow them to rotate, as convenience and fixed schedules are essential to site security.

“I am deeply concerned about the difficult and stressful situation in which the workers at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant find themselves and the potential risks that this entails to nuclear security,” Rafael Grossi warned on Tuesday.

With remote data transmission cut off and the Ukrainian regulator can only contact the factory by e-mail, Rafael Grossi reiterated his offer to visit the siteor elsewhere, to secure a “commitment to the safety and security” of Ukrainian power plants from all parties.

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The Russian military has also occupied the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant in southeastern Ukraine since Friday, where its artillery bombardment, according to the Ukrainians, caused a fire – which Moscow denies to be the cause.

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