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IAEA: Nuclear power plant employees should be allowed to rest

IAEA: Nuclear power plant employees should be allowed to rest

The International Atomic Energy Agency told CNN that the Ukrainian nuclear authority is in contact with employees of the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant, which was taken over by Russian soldiers on Friday.

After reports emerged of facility workers being forced to work at gunpoint, International Atomic Energy Agency chief Rafael Grossi said the agency was in contact with officials in Ukraine and that staff were now allowed to work in shifts. Grossi has repeatedly stressed the importance of giving people working at Ukrainian nuclear power plants enough rest so that they can safely perform their jobs.

“stress mode”

He described it as a “tense” situation in which Russian forces control Zaporizhia while the Ukrainian crew remains there. The situation, he says, “couldn’t last long at all”.

The head of Energoatom, the body that monitors Ukraine’s power plants, told Grossi on Friday that engineers at the plant were now allowed to start working in shifts, according to a statement from the International Atomic Energy Agency.

– I think that’s important, it’s a sign that people are listening to us, or at least to what we say, Grossi says.

“Ready to go”

However, the IAEA has not yet succeeded in getting the work done by the shift system for Chernobyl power plant employees, he continues.

Slavutich Mayor Yuri Fomityev told CNN on Saturday that Russian forces have prevented Chernobyl employees from working shifts since the facility was occupied — meaning the same 100 employees have operated the facility for ten consecutive days.

– We continue our talks, Grossi says and adds that he is “ready to go to Ukraine as soon as possible.”