Recent Shelling In Ukraine Damages Kharkiv’s Nuclear Research Facility: IAEA

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Vienna: Ukraine informed the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that shelling had caused additional damage to a nuclear research facility in the north-eastern city of Kharkiv on 25 June, but that radiation levels at the site remained normal, Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi said today.

The facility is designed to conduct research – in areas such as nuclear physics, radiation materials science, biology and chemistry – and radioisotope production for medical applications. Its nuclear assembly is subcritical, and the radioactive inventory is low. Before the conflict, the facility was under commissioning, but it is not currently operating.

The facility has been hit previously during the conflict and it lost its external power supply in March.

In the latest shelling, Ukraine told the IAEA that the facility’s infrastructure, including the cooling system and the diesel generator building, had been damaged. However, the diesel generator remained available if needed, it said.

Measurements carried out with a portable dosimeter on the same day showed that the radiation background in the experimental hall of the Neutron Source building was “within the standard limits”, Ukraine said.

Based on the nature of the installation and these measurements, the IAEA assessed that there was no significant implication for its safety, Director General Grossi said.

Ukraine separately informed the IAEA on Sunday that the flight path of a missile had again passed over the South Ukraine Nuclear Power Plant (NPP), the latest such incident during the conflict. Director General Grossi again expressed grave concern about the potential severe risks for nuclear facilities were such missiles to go astray.

Regarding the country’s operational reactors, Ukraine informed the IAEA that eight are currently connected to the grid, including two at the Zaporizhzhya NPP, three at the Rivne NPP, two at the South Ukraine NPP, and one at the Khmelnytskyy NPP. The seven other reactors are shut down for regular maintenance or held in reserve. Safety systems remain operational at the four NPPs, and they also continue to have off-site power available, Ukraine said.

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