Ukraine National Guard take control of Chernobyl security

06 April 2022

Following the departure of the Russian forces, the site and its surroundings are being checked for safety, and the radiation situation assessed, Ukraine says.

Drone footage shows the area around Chernobyl (Image: Energoatom/Telegram)

In a statement posted on its Facebook account, the State Specialised Enterprise Chernobyl NPP said that on 6 April “divisions of the National Guard of Ukraine have arrived … and taken control of the facility’s security. The major task of the national guardsmen on the Chernobyl site is ensuring security and defence of its nuclear facilities as well as physical protection of nuclear material”.

It said the key tasks were to check the site and transport infrastructure and to check the radiation situation in the plant’s premises and facilities where Russian forces had been based, adding that the forces had not followed the radiation safety rules for the site.

Footage from a drone over the area, posted on the Telegram account of Ukraine’s nuclear power plant operator Energoatom, appears to show that trenches had been dug in the exclusion zone during the time Russian forces controlled the site, from 24 February until the end of March.

Preparations are also continuing for a fresh change of shift at Chernobyl. Most of the current workers, including 46 volunteers, have been there since 20 March. However, 13 workers have been on site since 24 February.

The change of staff will only happen once it has been confirmed that security conditions allow it, as most of the staff live in the city of Slavutych, which is outside the 30 kilometre exclusion zone established after the 1986 accident.

Also on 6 April, Energoatom reported that all four of the country’s nuclear power plants continued to operate within safe limits, including Zaporozhe, which remains under the control of Russian forces. Seven of the country’s 15 units are operating, with the remainder either shut down for regular maintenance or being held in reserve.

In its update on 5 April, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said it was still not receiving remote data transmissions from its monitoring systems at Chernobyl. In its 4 April update, the IAEA had expressed its continuing concern for the welfare of staff at Zaporozhe and Chernobyl at having had to work under "extremely stressful and challenging work conditions", saying it was "unacceptable and unsustainable that staff are working under circumstances that could severely affect their wellbeing and so have a negative impact on the safe and secure operation of these nuclear facilities".

Researched and written by World Nuclear News