The head of the UN’s atomic watchdog said Tuesday that radiation levels at the Chernobyl power plant were “normal” and condemned the weeks-long occupation by Russian forces.
International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Rafael Grossi told reporters that Russia’s occupation of the site for weeks was “very, very dangerous”, according to AFP.
“The radiation level, I would say, is normal. There were times when the levels increased due to the movement of heavy equipment that Russian forces were bringing here and leaving,” Grossi added.
The comments were made on the 36th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster, which happened following a faulty reactor design that was operated with insufficiently trained personnel.
Grossi was sent to the Chernobyl power plant to help prevent the dangers of a nuclear accident amid the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.
On Thursday, the UN agency said the mission “will deliver vital equipment and carry out radiological and other assessments at the site”.
The site of the world’s worst nuclear disaster, the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, was under Russian occupation for five weeks before handing it over to Ukrainian troops.
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In addition, there have been reports of exposures of Russian forces to radiation levels during their temporary control of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine.
On April 1, the Ukrainian Defense Ministry claimed that Russian troops looted the power plant, taking “kettles, laboratory equipment and radiation“.
In response to these claims, the IAEA said it was working to determine the veracity of reports that Russian soldiers received high doses of radiation. In the years following the disaster, thousands of people died of radiation-induced cancers and diseases.
(With agency contributions)
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