Russian troops have withdrawn from Chernobyl, says Ukraine agency

Ukraine’s state atomic energy company, Energoatom, said in a statement on Telegram that all of the plant’s technological equipment and systems for monitoring radiation were “working normally” on Friday.


Reporting Areas

presence of Russian troops

ukrainian areas

the forces have resumed

Palewski State

radioecological

booking

Control areas as of March 31

Sources: Institute for the Study of War and staff reports.

Reporting Areas

presence of Russian troops

ukrainian areas

the forces have resumed

Source: Institute for the Study of War Control data from March 31

areas with

reported in Russian

presence of troops

ukrainian areas

the forces have resumed

Source: Institute for the Study of War Control data from March 31

The Chernobyl plant, scene of a great 1986 disaster, was one of the first strategic facilities seized by Russian troops at the start of their war against Ukraine in February. His capture caused international alarm and raised fears of a nuclear accident.

IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi, who visited a different nuclear plant in Ukraine earlier this week and traveled to Russia on Friday for talks with senior officials, described the news of Russia’s withdrawal from Chernobyl as “certainly a step in the right direction.”

“We have been saying that the plant needed to be operated by its own operators… under normal circumstances, who of course were not present when there were foreign troops,” Grossi said.

He told a news conference on Friday that the IAEA would send a mission “very, very soon” to Chernobyl, where he said radiation levels were “pretty normal.” He said agency personnel would need safe routes to move through the conflict zone. He added that the IAEA also plans to set up a “rapid assistance mechanism,” which in the event of an emergency at a nuclear facility could quickly dispatch a team to assess and assist.

Large amounts of radioactive material contaminated the land around the Chernobyl nuclear site after the 1986 disaster. Today, an “exclusion zone,” where radioactive contamination is highest, covers about 1,000 square miles around the site.

The Ukrainian state-owned company Energoatom said on March 31 that all Russian forces had withdrawn from the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. (Video: Reuters, Photo: Reuters)

The International Atomic Energy Agency said On Thursday he was informed by Ukrainian officials that Russian troops had “transferred control” of the Chernobyl nuclear plant to Ukrainian personnel in writing.

The IAEA also said it has been unable to confirm reports that Russian troops received “high doses of radiation” while stationed in the Chernobyl exclusion zone. The agency said it was “seeking more information to provide an independent assessment of the situation.” Grossi told reporters on Friday that the agency was aware of the claims but did not have any confirmation.

Russian troops were withdrawing towards Ukraine’s border with Belarus after announcing plans to abandon the Energoatom plant. said in a statement on Thursday. Russian forces also appeared to withdraw from the satellite town of Slavutych, Energoatom added, where many Chernobyl employees live. The claims could not be independently verified.

The Chernobyl zone, one of the world’s most radioactively contaminated sites, has been closed since 1986, although a small number of people still live in the area, mostly elderly Ukrainians who refused to evacuate or who returned after the evacuation of the area.

The building that contained the reactor that exploded in 1986 was covered in 2017 with a huge shield intended to contain the radiation still emanating from the plant. Robots inside the plant work to dismantle the destroyed reactor and collect radioactive waste. It is expected to take until 2064 to safely finish decommissioning the reactors.

Brittany Shammas contributed to this report.

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