The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reports that the staff who volunteered to replace the workers who had been on-site for 25 days, have now themselves been there for nearly a week.

Part of the Chernobyl site, pictured before recent events (Image: Chernobyl NPP)

Director General of the IAEA, Rafael Mariano Grossi, said that the State Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate of Ukraine (SNRIU) did not know "whether or when" the next staff rotation might take place.

Grossi has previously warned about the impact on safety of staff at nuclear power plants having to work under heightened pressure and without the opportunity to be well-rested.

He has now "reiterated his concern about the difficult work conditions at the site of the 1986 accident" and said the IAEA was also continuing to monitor the situation in the city of Slavutych, where many of the nuclear power plant staff live, and which was reportedly seized by Russian forces over the weekend.

The SNRIU also said that shelling had been taking place near a nuclear research facility in the city of Kharkov, preventing efforts to dispose of an unexploded rocket.

It said that there had been "significant damage to the thermal insulation lining" of the building and personnel were continuing to inspect the buildings to assess damage.

The IAEA update said the "facility has been used for research and development and radioisotope production for medical and industrial applications. Its nuclear material is subcritical and the radioactive inventory is low. Personnel at the facility were maintaining the operability of the nuclear installation’s equipment and radiation was within 'standard limits'."

Ukrainian nuclear power operator Energoatom said on 28 March that all four of the country's plants - and eight of the 15 reactors - were continuing to operate within safety parameters.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News

Date: Tuesday, 29 March 2022
Original article: world-nuclear-news.org/Articles/Fresh-concerns-over-staffing-at-Chernobyl