Chernobyl power plant has been reconnected to national power grid, says UN nuclear watchdog

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Ukraine informed the UN nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), that the Chernobyl nuclear power plant has reconnected to the national electricity grid after losing power there last Wednesday.

“Teams of Ukrainian specialists succeeded this weekend in repairing one of the two damaged lines connecting the plant to the electricity grid,” the IAEA said on Tuesday.

Since Monday, the site has received all the necessary electricity from the repaired line, allowing staff to switch off the emergency diesel generators they have relied on since March 9, it said in a statement.

Since Russian troops took control of the nuclear power plant on February 24, the plant’s 211 technical staff and guards have not been able to leave, meaning they “have actually been living there for three weeks “, according to the watchdog. .

Ukraine’s regulator told the IAEA that the information it received about Chernobyl was “controlled by Russian military forces” and as a result it could not “always provide detailed answers to all” of the questions asked.

Ukraine’s regulator also told the IAEA that staff at Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, Zaporizhzhia, in southeastern Ukraine, “confirmed reports that the Russian military had detonated unexploded ordnance left at the site after the events of March 4,” according to the press release.

Staff were not informed before the detonations, the watchdog said, adding that “the regulator has informed the IAEA in recent days of work underway to detect and dispose of unexploded ordnance found at the training facility. damaged and elsewhere in the nuclear plant.”

“The episode apart. What this indicates is that the situation is extremely volatile, extremely fragile. What you have there is a site containing six nuclear reactors, which is under the control of the forces Russian armies. The operators are the Ukrainian operators. But of course that leads to possibilities of friction,” IAEA chief Rafael Grossi warned in an interview with France 24.

In Ukraine, there have been “several situations” where “basic security guidelines or standards” have been “compromised or even completely violated” over the past week, Grossi said.

Ukraine’s regulator told the IAEA that “eight of the country’s 15 reactors remain in operation, including two at the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant, three at Rivne, one at Khmelnytskyy and two in southern Ukraine”, adding that “Radiation levels at all nuclear power plants are within the normal range.”

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