Chernobyl during Russia and Ukraine Conflict

Hevach

Senior Member.
Source: https://twitter.com/thenrthstar/status/1496976049275559936


There's some tweets about radiation increase from the Chernobyl reactor site. There was speculation of Russia reactivating the functional reactors to support the eastern grid while they attack in the west, but I doubt this is any sign of that. Bringing one online safely shouldn't do this, and bringing one online unsafely should do a heck of a lot more.

Radiation spikes from Chernobyl aren't that unusual, there was one a few months ago much higher than this. Water leaking in or debris breaking loose near a corium deposit can cause a small mass to go near critical and produce a lot of excess emissions, but it usually goes away in a few days.

This one isn't even particularly serious, you could hang out in it for a month before hitting the annual safety limit for radiologists. Russia is moving tanks through the area so who knows what has been kicked up or unburied from the ground.
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
There's some tweets about radiation increase from the Chernobyl reactor site. [...] Russia is moving tanks through the area so who knows what has been kicked up or unburied from the ground.
Article:
Russian forces took control over the site after a fierce battle with Ukrainian national guards protecting the decommissioned plant, Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak told The Associated Press. The condition of the plant’s facilities, a confinement shelter and a repository for nuclear waste is unknown, he said.

An official familiar with current assessments said Russian shelling hit a radioactive waste repository at Chernobyl, and an increase in radiation levels was reported. The increase could not be immediately corroborated.

Edwin Lyman, director of nuclear power safety at the Union of Concerned Scientists in Washington, said, “I can’t imagine how it would be in Russia’s interest to allow any facilities at Chernobyl to be damaged.”

In an interview, Lyman said he is most worried about spent fuel stored at the site, which has not been active since 2000. If the power to cooling pumps is disrupted or fuel-storage tanks are damaged, the results could be catastrophic, he said.

It’s expected to take until 2064 to finish dismantling the reactors. Ukraine decided to use the deserted zone as the site for its centralized storage facility for spent fuel from the country’s other remaining nuclear power plants.

Chernobyl generated power until 2000, but by 2008 all fuel had been removed from the reactors (wikipedia). Turning it back on doesn't seem a likely scenario to me.

From a reprinted 2015 Guardian article:
Article:
55534e03ecad048348fda37c.jpeg.jpg
Spent fuel rod containers in the open air. [Zaporizhia]


65,500 nSv/h ≈ 570 mSv/year, of mostly long-lived isotopes I expect. It's not catastrophic, but it's concerning.
 

Attachments

  • radiation.png
    radiation.png
    87.4 KB · Views: 105
Last edited:

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
The source link given seems to be down. Possibly from too much traffic from that Tweet.
http://www.srp.ecocentre.kiev.ua/

Ukraine's government website is claiming an increase in radiation due to Russian actions.
Article:
According to acting Director General of the SSE “Chornobyl NPP” Valeriy Seyda, in the exclusion zone, new safe confinement over the Shelter facility, power units N1 and N2, which are under decommissioning, spent nuclear fuel storage - SNFSF. 1, SNF-2 taken under the control of the occupiers - the military of the Russian Federation.

For the second day in a row, the occupiers have been detaining the personnel of the Chornobyl NPP station, not allowing them to rotate, as required by technical safety rules.

The capture of the station and the conduct of any military action there threatens to repeat the scenario of the second Chernobyl accident, from which Europe is still recovering.

It should be noted that the control levels of gamma radiation dose rates in the exclusion zone have already been exceeded due to the violation of the topsoil due to the movement of a large number of heavy military equipment through the exclusion zone and the release of contaminated radioactive dust.
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
The International Atomic Energy Agency says it's not that bad.
Article:
Experts at Ukraine's state nuclear agency said the change was due to the movement of heavy military equipment in the area lifting radioactive dust into the air.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said the radiation at the site did not pose any danger to the public.

"The readings reported by the regulator – of up to 9.46 microSieverts per hour – are low and remain within the operational range measured in the Exclusion Zone since it was established," the IAEA said.

That's 9460 nS/h ≈ 80 mSv/year.
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
Article:
After Ukrainian officials said they lost control of the decommissioned Chernobyl nuclear power plant, scene of the world’s worst nuclear disaster, Russia said it was working with Ukrainians to secure the plant. Ukraine’s ambassador to Washington said the Russians were holding 92 workers hostage at the plant, forcing them to continue running the facility and defying safety rules.

In the context of my previous post, with the need to keep up cooling, this makes sense.
 
Last edited:

Agent K

Senior Member
Article:
After Ukrainian officials said they lost control of the decommissioned Chernobyl nuclear power plant, scene of the world’s worst nuclear disaster, Russia said it was working with Ukrainians to secure the plant. Ukraine’s ambassador to Washington said the Russians were holding 92 workers hostage at the plant, forcing them to continue running the facility and defying safety rules.

In the context of my previous post, with the need to keep up cooling, this makes sense.

Article:

Russian military releases images of captured Chernobyl plant​

Images released by Moscow’s defense ministry showed Russian soldiers patrolling the plant, which is encased in a giant sarcophagus, with snipers dressed in black uniforms and a tank parked on the territory.
A masked soldier said radiation levels were “under control.”
The soldier claimed the Russians were protecting the area “with the Ukrainian National Guard,” but Ukrainian authorities have said staff had been evacuated as Moscow’s forces took control.
Ukraine on Friday said the radiation levels had increased since Chernobyl -- which lies on the path of the Russian advance from Belarus to the capital Kyiv -- was seized by Moscow’s troops.
The release of the footage on Saturday appeared part of the Kremlin’s major propaganda campaign at home downplaying the ferocity of the bloody attack on Ukraine.


Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cNudnk1nUAM


1646112998508.png
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
The IAEA issued an update on Chernobyl.
Article:
Ukraine informed the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) today that the same staff had been working at the Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) since Russian forces last week took control of the site of the 1986 nuclear accident, Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi said, expressing his growing concern about their continued wellbeing and ability to do their jobs safely and effectively.

In a regular update to the IAEA, the State Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate of Ukraine (SNRIU) said it maintained communications with the Chornobyl site – whose personnel it said were carrying out their duties under “supervision” – and that no operation involving nuclear material had been conducted there since 24 February.

From a reprinted 2015 Guardian article:
Article: 55534e03ecad048348fda37c.jpeg.jpg
Spent fuel rod containers in the open air. [Zaporizhia] Source: https://ourworld.unu.edu/en/nuclear-waste-stored-in-shocking-way-120-miles-from-ukrainian-front-line
Article:
Russia has informed the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that its military forces have taken control of the territory around Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (NPP), Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi said today.

In an official letter to the Director General dated 1 March, the Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the International Organizations in Vienna also said personnel at the plant continued their “work on providing nuclear safety and monitoring radiation in normal mode of operation. The radiation levels remain normal.”

Article:
Each nuclear reactor at Zaporizhzhia has three backup generators and seven days’ worth of diesel fuel to keep them running, Lyman said. In the wake of the Fukushima disaster, many nuclear power plant facilities around the globe, including in Ukraine, added measures to prevent disasters like Fukushima from happening. “Those measures could potentially be brought to bear in a crisis at one of Ukraine’s plants, but then that additional equipment is only as good as it’s protected,” Lyman added. “It’s only good if it’s available.”

The other risk at Ukraine’s nuclear facilities, active or not, is of human error. The people responsible for maintaining the safety and security of the facilities are working long hours under tense and dangerous conditions. Valentin Geiko, the head of the shift at Chernobyl, celebrated his 60th birthday on March 2, after working nonstop for six consecutive days to maintain the Russian-occupied plant. “He can’t hand over his shift and can’t leave his post,” SNRIU said.

“That’s the other issue is the plant personnel,” Lyman said. “If the enemy controls the plant and all the access points, are the personnel who were not on duty, are they going to report to work? And if not, then you have the shifts that are there now, they ordinarily will not have to work, nonstop, and can’t work nonstop.”
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
Zaporizhzhia
Article:
Ukraine informed the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) today that the site of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) had been shelled overnight and Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi immediately spoke with Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal as well as the country’s national nuclear regulator and operator about the serious situation.

The Ukraine regulatory authority said a fire at the site had not affected “essential” equipment and plant personnel were taking mitigatory actions. There was no reported change in radiation levels at the plant, it said.


Chornobyl (Chernobyl)
Article:
In a separate technical update to the IAEA today, the SNRIU reported that power from one of the two off-site power transmission lines supplying electricity to the site was lost overnight. This power line does not provide power to safety-related equipment. Neverthless, due to this loss of power, there were difficulties in carrying out routine maintenance and repair of some safety-critical equipment, SNRIU said.

Due to time elapsed since the 1986 Chornobyl accident, the heat load of the spent fuel storage pool and the volume of cooling water contained in the pool is sufficient to maintain effective heat removal without the need for electrical supply.

Furthermore, the site has back-up emergency diesel generators available should there be a total loss of power.
 
Last edited:

Mendel

Senior Member.
Zaporizhzhia
Article:
Ukraine informed the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) today that Russian forces had taken control of the site of the country’s Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (NPP), but that the nuclear power plant continued to be operated by its regular staff and there had been no release of radioactive material, Director General Rafael Mario Grossi said.

Ukrainian counterparts informed the IAEA that a projectile overnight had hit a training building in the vicinity of one of the plant’s reactor units, causing a localized fire that was later extinguished.

The safety systems of the plant’s six reactors had not been affected and there has been no release of radioactive material.

Radiation monitoring systems at the site are fully functional.

However, the operator has reported that the situation remains very challenging and therefore it has not yet been possible to access the whole site to assess that all safety systems are fully functional.

Of the plant’s reactor units, Unit 1 is shut down for maintenance, Units 2 and 3 have undergone a controlled shut down, Unit 4 is operating at 60 percent power and Units 5 and 6 are being held “in reserve” in low power mode.

Article:
1646390207008.jpg
Rafael Grossi, director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, points on a map of the Ukrainian Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant during a news conference at the IAEA headquarters in Vienna, Austria on Friday.
 
Last edited:

deirdre

Senior Member.
Zaporizhzhia
shouldnt this reactor have it's own thread?

is this true? that Russia took it Feb 28th? do we know?

Article:
In a video briefing, Russian Ministry of Defense spokesperson Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said Russian forces took the city of Enerhodar, the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant and the territory adjacent to it on February 28. Konashenkov claimed the plant's technical staff continued regular work on the facilities, but that Ukrainian forces attempted a "monstrous provocation" in the early hours of Friday. Konashenkov also claimed the Ukrainians had set fire to the training building themselves.
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
this true? that Russia took it Feb 28th? do we know?
I don't expect we'll know anything for sure anytime soon.

It's probably safe to say that the Russians reached a position outside Enerhodar late on the 28th. On March 1st, there were pictures of a civilian blockade. I've also seen a report that the Russians wanted to negotiate for a peaveful hand-over of the site, and they obviously involved the IAEA on that day.

It's also obvious that there was no peaceful hand-over, since some dead Ukrainian soldiers were reported found at the site after the fire. It's also obvious that nothing nuclear-related was seriously damaged, since radiation levels are low, so accusations of the Russians attacking the reactor will probably come down to some legal distinctions on what exactly you can or can't shoot at—and who exactly shot at what. The decision by the Ukrainian forces to defend the site is also going to be questioned.

I expect that these issues are going to be scrutinized after the war; there's going to need to be some kind of international agreement on how to do these takeovers safely, and hopefully IAEA can effect that.
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
shouldnt this reactor have it's own thread?
The updates from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) cover all plants, and the issues are similar. It'd be a hassle to split the post, and I don't see any advantage to it.

Article:
Ukraine informed the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) today that the Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) had been disconnected from the electricity grid and lost its supply of external power, two weeks after Russian forces took control of the site of the 1986 accident, Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi said. [...]

In another development, he said the IAEA in recent days had lost remote data transmission from its safeguards systems installed to monitor nuclear material at the Chornobyl NPP and another Ukrainian nuclear power plant now controlled by Russian forces, the Zaporizhzhya NPP. He said he was concerned about the sudden interruption of such data flows to the IAEA’s Vienna headquarters from the two sites, where large amounts of nuclear material are present in the form of spent or fresh nuclear fuel and other types of nuclear material.

The reason for the disruption in the transmission of safeguards data was not immediately clear. The IAEA continues to receive such data from other nuclear facilities in Ukraine, including the three other nuclear power plants. [...]

Even though technical features were in place to ensure that the data was stored locally, the storage capacity as well as the operational status of the monitoring systems remained uncertain, he said.

Through safeguards technical measures the IAEA verifies that countries are honouring their international legal obligations to use nuclear material and technology only for peaceful purposes.

The Zaporizhzhya NPP site has four high voltage (750 kV) offsite power lines plus an additional one on standby. The operator informed the IAEA that two have been damaged and therefore there were now two power lines, plus the one on standby, available to the plant. The operator also said that the NPP off-site power needs could be provided with one power line available. Furthermore, diesel generators are ready and functional to provide back-up power. “Nevertheless, this is another example of where the safety pillar to secure off-site power supply from the grid for all nuclear sites has been compromised,” Director General Grossi said.

In addition, the regulator reported that the Unit 6 transformer had been taken out of service and was undergoing emergency repair after damage to its cooling system was detected following the events of 4 March.

Article:
Ukraine informed the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that it had lost today all communications with the Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant (NPP), the day after the Russian-controlled site lost all external power supplies, Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi said.

The Director General said that the Agency is aware of reports that power has now been restored to the site and is looking for confirmation.

According to the information received before the loss of communication, both of the site’s power lines had been damaged, in effect disconnecting it from the grid, the Ukraine’s regulatory authority said. To ensure continued power, these lines would either need to be repaired or the generators holding fuel for two days would require additional diesel deliveries. The diesel generators were powering systems important for safety, including those for spent nuclear fuel and water control and chemical water treatment, the regulatory authority said, adding that the operator was not able to maintain some functions such as radiation monitoring, ventilation systems, and normal lighting.

Nevertheless [...] the disconnection from the grid will not have a critical impact on essential safety functions at the site, where various radioactive waste management facilities are located, as the volume of cooling water in the spent fuel facility is sufficient to maintain heat removal without a supply of electricity.

Furthermore, the operator has also been able to confirm that there are no damages in the structures and systems of the spent fuel storage pool, and their original functions are maintained.

If emergency power was also to be lost, the regulator said it would still be possible for staff to monitor the water level and temperature of the spent fuel pool. But they would carry out this work under worsening radiation safety conditions due to a lack of ventilation at the facility. They would also not be able to follow operational radiation safety procedures.

However, in another challenge for the [Zaporizhzhya nuclear power] plant, it was not currently possible to deliver necessary spare parts, equipment and specialized personnel to the site to carry out planned repairs, and maintenance activities at Unit 1 had been reduced to the minimum level required by the plant operational procedures.
 
Last edited:

Mendel

Senior Member.
Chornobyl
Article:
Ukraine’s regulatory authority said work that began on the evening of 10 March had succeeded in repairing one section, but off-site electrical power was still down, indicating there was still damage in other places. The repair efforts would continue despite the difficult situation outside the NPP site, it added.

Emergency diesel generators have been providing back-up power to the site since 9 March, and the regulator has reported that additional fuel had been delivered to the facility.

[...] The 211 technical personnel and guards have in effect been living at the site for more than two weeks, the regulator said, expressing concern also about the availability of food reserves.



Zaporizhzhya
Article:
At the same NPP, work is ongoing to detect and dispose of unexploded munitions found in its damaged training centre and other places after the events there on 4 March, when Russian forces took control of Ukraine’s largest nuclear power plant with six reactors, the regulator said.

I note that this bulletin puts the date of the takeover on March 4, contrary to Russian claims of an earlier takeover.
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
Article:
Regarding the partial loss of remote data transmission from safeguards systems installed to monitor nuclear material and activities at nuclear power plants, reported in Update 16, the IAEA said it was now back online from the Zaporizhzhya NPP but still down from the Chornobyl NPP, while there were intermittent problems with data transfer from the South Ukraine NPP.

Article:
In relation to safeguards, the Agency confirmed that it has managed to recover all of the data of the Zaporizhzhya NPP that could not be transmitted to IAEA headquarters for a few days this week.

In a telephone call with Director General Grossi early today, 12 March, the Director General of Rosatom Alexey Likhachev confirmed that a limited number of the company’s experts were present at the Zaporizhzhya NPP in south-eastern Ukraine, but he denied that Rosatom had taken operational control nor that it intended for the plant to be under Rosatom’s “management system”.

The Russian Federation separately informed the Agency formally today that, “management and operation of the Zaporozhskaya and Chernobyl NPPs is carried out by the Ukrainian operating personnel. A group of several Russian experts provides them consultative assistance. In the framework of providing technical support, the priority needs of plants are being determined to ensure the safe and sustainable operation of nuclear power units. Thus, in particular, with the consultative assistance of Russian specialists, the restoration of the power supply of the Chernobyl NPP and the physical protection system of the Zaporozhskaya NPP is now being carried out. While implementing measures carried out at ensuring the safe and secure operation of Ukrainian NPPs the Russia side maintains close contact with the IAEA”.

In his phone discussion today with Director General Grossi, Rosatom’s Likhachev also provided information about the new diesel deliveries and said power lines could be extended from nearby Belarus to supply the Chornobyl NPP. He said some Rosatom experts were on the site.
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
Article:
Russia is attempting to blame Ukraine for the nuclear plant incident. Russia’s ambassador to the U.N., Vassily Nebenzia, according to the AP, rejected claims that its military forces attacked the plant as “simply untrue” and part of “an unprecedented campaign of lies and disinformation against Russia.”

Nebenzia claimed Russia took control of Zaporizhzhia on Feb. 28 and reached agreement with the plant’s management for the Russian military to guard the facility to ensure its security “to prevent the Ukrainian nationalist or other terrorist forces from taking advantage of the current situation to organize a nuclear provocation.”

According to the Russian Ministry of Defense, he said, a Russian mobile patrol in the area adjacent to the plant on Thursday night was attacked by “a Ukrainian sabotage group” with heavy small arms fire from the windows of several floors of a training complex just outside the nuclear plant “in order to provoke return fire.”

Apparently, that "mobile patrol" involved 10 armored vehicles and two tanks:
Article:
SmartSelect_20220313-210408_Samsung Internet.jpg

Last week's assault by Russian forces on the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant was far more dangerous than initial assessments suggested, according to an analysis by NPR of video and photographs of the attack and its aftermath.

A thorough review of a four-hour, 21-minute security camera video of the attack reveals that Russian forces repeatedly fired heavy weapons in the direction of the plant's massive reactor buildings, which housed dangerous nuclear fuel. Photos show that an administrative building directly in front of the reactor complex was shredded by Russian fire. And a video from inside the plant shows damage and a possible Russian shell that landed less than 250 feet from the Unit 2 reactor building.

The security camera footage also shows Russian troops haphazardly firing rocket-propelled grenades into the main administrative building at the plant and turning away Ukrainian firefighters even as a fire raged out of control in a nearby training building.
The source article is very detailed and shows annotated excerpts of the videos.
 

Attachments

  • _ai2html-map-wide.jpg
    _ai2html-map-wide.jpg
    493.6 KB · Views: 76

Mendel

Senior Member.
Article:
Earlier today, the Ukrainian regulator informed the IAEA that staff at the Chornobyl NPP were no longer carrying out repair and maintenance of safety-related equipment, in part due to their physical and psychological fatigue after working non-stop for nearly three weeks.

Ukraine’s regulatory authority also informed the IAEA today that it was closely monitoring the situation in the Chornobyl NPP Exclusion Zone ahead of the annual “fire season” when spontaneous fires often occur in the area, still contaminated by radioactive material from the accident 36 years ago next month.

Article:
Later in the day, the regulatory authority told the IAEA that at 13:10 CET external power had again been restored and that staff at the Chornobyl NPP had restarted operations to reconnect the NPP to the grid.

The IAEA is aware of reports that Russian forces have carried out munition explosions at the site of the Zaporizhzhya NPP, and it is seeking information about the situation from Ukraine. The regulator had previously informed the Agency about ongoing work to detect and dispose of unexploded munitions found at the damaged training centre and elsewhere at the NPP following events on 4 March, when Russian forces took control of the site.
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
Catching up on the news from Chornobyl:
Article:
21 Mar 2022

Ukraine informed the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that the long-delayed rotation of technical staff at the Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) was completed today, enabling them to go home and rest for the first time since Russian forces took control of the site last month, Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi said.

Ukraine’s regulatory authority said about half of the outgoing shift of technical staff left the site of the 1986 accident yesterday and the rest followed today, with the exception of thirteen staff members who declined to rotate. Most Ukrainian guards also remained at the site, it added.

Damaged roads and bridges had complicated the transportation of staff to the nearby city of Slavutych, the regulator said. The staff had been at Chornobyl since the day before Russian forces took control of the site on 24 February. They left after handing over operations to newly arrived Ukrainian colleagues who replaced them after nearly four weeks.

The new work shift also comes from Slavutych and includes two supervisors instead of the usual one to ensure that there is back-up available on the site, the regulator said. An agreement had been reached on how to organize future staff rotations at the NPP, where various radioactive waste management facilities are located, it said.


Article:
The IAEA is aware of media reports of forest fires in the area near the Chernobyl site and is seeking further information about the situation from its Ukrainian counterpart. The regulator informed the IAEA last week that it was closely monitoring the situation in the Chornobyl NPP Exclusion Zone ahead of the annual “fire season” when spontaneous fires often occur in the area, still contaminated by radioactive material from the accident 36 years ago next month.

Article:
Earlier today, Ukraine’s regulatory authority informed the IAEA that firefighters were trying to extinguish wildfires near the Chornobyl NPP, an area which has seen such outbreaks also in previous years. The fire brigade from the town of Chornobyl has extinguished four fires, but there are still ongoing fires. The local fire station does not currently have access to the electricity grid, the regulator said. In the meantime, the station is relying on diesel generators for power, for which fuel is required, it added.

Article:
Ukraine informed the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) today that Russian forces were shelling Ukrainian checkpoints in the city of Slavutych where many people working at the nearby Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) live, putting them at risk and preventing further rotation of personnel to and from the site, Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi said.

Ukraine’s regulatory authority said the shelling was endangering “the homes and families of those operational personnel that ensure the nuclear and radiation safety” of the Chornobyl NPP, which is under the control of Russian forces since 24 February. Slavutych is located outside the Exclusion Zone that was established around the NPP after the 1986 accident.

Article:
In an update this morning, the regulator said Slavutych was surrounded. A few hours later, it cited Chornobyl NPP management as confirming media reports that the city had been seized.

The regulator said the last staff rotation was on 20-21 March, when a new shift of technical personnel arrived from Slavutych to replace colleagues who had worked at the Chornobyl NPP since the day before the Russian military entered the site, where radioactive waste management facilities are located. There was “no information when or whether” a new change of work shift would take place, it said.

The news from Zaporizhzhya was uneventful.
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
Here's an unverified report.
Article:
Russian soldiers who seized the site of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster drove their armoured vehicles without radiation protection through a highly toxic zone called the "Red Forest", kicking up clouds of radioactive dust, workers at the site said.

The two sources said soldiers in the convoy did not use any anti-radiation gear. The second Chernobyl employee said that was "suicidal" for the soldiers because the radioactive dust they inhaled was likely to cause internal radiation in their bodies.

Both men said they had witnessed Russian tanks and other armoured vehicles moving through the Red Forest, which is the most radioactively contaminated part of the zone around Chernobyl, around 100 km (65 miles) north of Kyiv.

The regular soldiers one of the workers spoke to when they worked alongside them in the facility had not heard about the explosion, he said.

A vast area around Chernobyl is off limits to anyone who does not work there or have special permission, but the Red Forest is considered so highly contaminated that even the nuclear plant workers are not allowed to go there.

The Russian military convoy went through the zone, the two employees said. One of them said it used an abandoned road.

"A big convoy of military vehicles drove along a road right behind our facility and this road goes past the Red Forest," said one of the sources.

"The convoy kicked up a big column of dust. Many radiation safety sensors showed exceeded levels," he said.

In the weeks the two plant employees were sharing the complex with Russian troops, they also said they saw none of them using any gear that would protect them from radiation.

Specialists from the Russian military who are trained in dealing with radiation did not arrive at the site until about a week after Russian troops arrived, the workers said. They said the Russian specialists did not wear protective gear either.
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
Article:
Ukraine today [March 31st] informed the IAEA that the Russian forces that have been in control of Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) since 24 February had, in writing, transferred control of the NPP to Ukrainian personnel and moved two convoys of troops towards Belarus. A third convoy had also left the city of Slavutych, where many of the Chornobyl NPP staff live, and moved towards Belarus. In addition, Ukraine reported that there are still some Russian forces on the Chornobyl NPP site but presumed that those forces are preparing to leave.


Article:
Ukraine told the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) today that it was continuing preparations for a rotation of technical staff who have been working at the Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) for the past two weeks, Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi said.

Russian forces withdrew from the plant three days ago after being in control of the site for five weeks. During that time only one change of staff on duty took place, on 20-21 March. Many NPP personnel live in the city of Slavutych outside the 30-kilometre Exclusion Zone set up after the 1986 accident. Ukraine said the preparatory work for the next rotation included an assessment of staff security.
 

CaptainCourgette

Active Member
I'm not sure if it's as dangerous as it's portrayed as, i was there a few years ago, with Geiger counter, the numbers were never super high, i even plucked aan apple off a tree 100m from the ferris wheel and ate some of that. I got more radiation in the flights over there
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
I'm not sure if it's as dangerous as it's portrayed as
Neither am I, hence I am leading with "Ukraine claims". Nobody knows what happened in the hospital (checkups? treating wounded?), and there's really no reason to "dig trenches" in a forest that's never been near a frontline.
 

Hevach

Senior Member.
I'm not sure if it's as dangerous as it's portrayed as, i was there a few years ago, with Geiger counter, the numbers were never super high, i even plucked aan apple off a tree 100m from the ferris wheel and ate some of that. I got more radiation in the flights over there
It's relatively safe when you follow the rules, but the rules are important, any you break will increase your cumulative exposure, even though most like your apple aren't a one way trip to cancer town.

Two rules I think will be the biggest factor here:

Disturbing topsoil. The original radiation spike was believed to be due to vehicles driving off the roads, and more recently there have been pictures purported to be trenches and new paths cut in the Red Forest. A lot of the worst material from the plume was either bulldozed under or just washed deeper by years of water action, so when the soil is disturbed you get spikes.

Going into restricted areas. Some places in the reactor complex are very hot and only very prepared professionals go into them, and only for short periods, but most are not actually sealed up, workers still monitor conditions. It's not safe to go to the Elephant's Foot corium deposit but a couple locked doors and signs are all that stops you. These areas were still likely secured and may even have been patrolled.


And radiation is cumulative, people were in there for over a month. One apple is no worse than an airline flight, but one a day to break the MRE monotony (ok, they're out of season but as an example)? A sip of water is safe but filling your canteen in the stream every day? Most of the buildings are clean but walking though the Sarcophagus twice a day on your patrol? Doing all those things without a geiger counter so you don't even know if you wander into one of the random pockets of activity? Add it all together, over and over for a month?

With any cumulative exposure risk like radiation tons of things can be perfectly safe to do once, maybe a few times a year spread over your life, but become lethal deceptively quickly when done routinely.

This is why the radiologist wears a lead vest and retreats from the room while you're there with a hospital gown that barely counts as clothes. It's just one time for you a few times throughout your life, but it's dozens a day for them, all day, every day. The Russian soldiers turning up with acute radiation sickness have more in common than the radiologist than the patient.
 

BombDr

Senior Member.
If the soldiers were digging in as reported, as well as generally driving around armoured vehicles, then the risk of ingesting or inhaling radioactive particles is high.

As Hevach pointed out, the time of exposure is relevant, and so far it is not known if any of the Russian soldiers had any countermeasures in place during their occupation.

What is known is that the Russian military has scant regard for their personnel, so the idea they were told to dig into contaminated soil would come as no surprise.
 

DavidB66

Senior Member
there's really no reason to "dig trenches" in a forest that's never been near a frontline
The word 'trench' tends to conjure up images of the Western Front in WWI, but there are a multitude of reasons for digging trenches. On a basic level, they could be used as latrines or rubbish pits. For defensive purposes, digging a simple slit trench is a relatively quick way of providing soldiers with cover against strafing by aircraft, shrapnel from artillery shells or mortars, enemy snipers, etc. Developed trench systems have been used a lot in the conflict in Eastern Ukraine since 2014, for example, but trenches can also be useful as temporary defences in a variety of circumstances, as this video suggests:

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mQHLd1ZO-4k


That is not to say that the Russians did dig trenches near Chernobyl, just that they might have reasons to, for example if they were expecting Ukrainian counter-battery fire.
 

BombDr

Senior Member.
there's really no reason to "dig trenches" in a forest that's never been near a frontline.
Whenever you stop, you dig in, especially if you are in IDF range. Considering that Ukraine had demonstrated its very capable drone inventory, any commander would order his men to dig in. That would include at a minimum a shell scrape for the soldiers and slots for the vehicles. The fact they decided to go with this in a radiologically contaminated environment further demonstrates the inept nature of the Russian military.
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
The fact they decided to go with this in a radiologically contaminated environment
I haven't seen any evidence that they did. I heard there were some trenches near the Chernobyl checkpoint, but this claim is about the Red Forest.
 

Hevach

Senior Member.
Source: https://www.reddit.com/r/UkraineWarVideoReport/comments/txazpt/drone_footage_in_chernobyl_confirms_that_russians/

Purported drone footage with the reactor building and Sarcophagus visible in the distance (at 0:23 the camera zooms on a distinctive arched building, that's the New Safe Confinement, a containment structure built over the Sarcophagus). Extensive ground disruption, with felled trees, pathways cut, flattened areas with regular tire marks possibly for storage, and fortifications. Mostly appears to be dug in emplacements for tanks rather than personnel trenches, basically a series of ramped holes and hollow mounds a tank or truck can roll into with a turret or gun poking up but with some cover against direct fire weapons. A lot of it seems to be full of water now.
 
Last edited:

Mendel

Senior Member.
Purported drone footage
A reddit user has geolocated the site to 51°23'23.6"N 30°03'04.5"E (shown), another to 51.389710809613426N, 30.04787466127961E.
This location is south of Pripyat, in a very contaminated zone, I believe.
SmartSelect_20220406-152624_Samsung Internet.jpg
SmartSelect_20220406-152827_Samsung Internet.jpg
 

Attachments

  • 1398px-Chernobyl_radiation_map_1996.svg.png
    1398px-Chernobyl_radiation_map_1996.svg.png
    545.1 KB · Views: 62
Last edited:

Mendel

Senior Member.
Article:
Ukraine informed the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) today that it had carried out the first staff rotation at the Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) in three weeks and only the second since late February when Russian forces seized the site, Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi said.

The previous change of staff on duty took place on 20-21 March, which in turn was the first since the Russian military entered the site on 24 February.

However, the fact that those taking part in Saturday’s staff rotation had to be transported to and from the site by boat on the Pripyat River – as publicly reported by the national operator Energoatom – underlined that the situation at the NPP and the Exclusion Zone around it remained far from normal, he said.

Energoatom said river transportation was currently the only way for people living in the city of Slavutych outside the Zone to get to the NPP, where radioactive waste management facilities are located following the 1986 accident.

Ukraine also provided more information about the damage to the site’s analytical laboratories for radiation monitoring, saying the premises were destroyed and the analytical instruments stolen, broken or otherwise disabled. In addition, an associated Information and Communication Centre had been looted, parts of its communication lines destroyed, and the automated transmission of radiation monitoring data disabled.

Ukraine informed the IAEA already last month that the Central Analytical Laboratory in Chornobyl town had been “looted by marauders” and that it could not confirm the safety and security of its calibration sources nor the condition of environmental samples stored there. Based on the information provided at that time, the IAEA then assessed that the incident did not pose a significant radiological risk.
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
Article:
Officials at the plant explain the levels inside the room used by Russian soldiers are only slightly above what the World Nuclear Association describes as naturally occurring radiation. One-time contact would not be dangerous but continuous exposure would pose a health hazard.

"They went to the Red Forest and brought radioactive material back with them on their shoes," soldier Ihor Ugolkov explains. "Other places are fine, but radiation increased here, because they were living here."

Ukrainian officials have released drone footage of what they say were trenches dug by Russian soldiers in that area, which is particularly radioactive. At a safe location, on the edges of that area, CNN saw a Russian military ration box that exhibited radiation levels 50 times above naturally occurring values.

220408153332-02-chernobyl-cnn-super-169.jpg

SmartSelect_20220411-063115_Samsung Internet.jpg
For comparison, air travel incurs ~5 µSv/h. Of course, if someone ingests the radioactive material, it doesn't stop irradiating them.

There's a video accompanying the article that I also found on Youtube. The reporter-style dramatic inflection is a bit grating, but the clips provide more context than the pictures alone do.
Source: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=8jWnuvrPgu4&t=40
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
Article:
The Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Rafael Mariano Grossi, is today [Monday, April 25] travelling to Ukraine to lead the IAEA’s first full-fledged assistance mission of safety, security and safeguards experts to the country. The team will arrive at the Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) on Tuesday to deliver equipment, conduct radiological assessments and restore safeguards monitoring systems.

Director Grossi had travelled to Zaporizhzhya at the end of March, and gave a press conference afterwards.

In response to the Reuters question [12:00], he explained that he had negotiated some framework/plans with both sides, but that it was not diplomatically feasible to negotiate a joint document.

In response to the dpa question [19:23] on why the IAEA wants to send its own experts into Ukraine, he gave several reasons:
• [20:30] to provide advice/experience dealing with outages and damage,
• [22:10] to have a convenient liason with the IAEA experts in Vienna for the local staff,
• [22:30] to enable the IAEA quick access to facts in Ukraine if needed, and
• [23:30] to safeguard nuclear nonproliferation in the face of automated monitoring outages.

The problem with the remote monitoring seems to be that Ukranian staff is not allowed to tamper with IAEA equipment, so they can't just fix it when things break. It's one of the reasons for the current trip to Chornobyl.

Director Grossi did not give any details about the agreed-upon plans or framework, and declined to name equipment that would be provided to Ukraine.

Source: https://youtu.be/hv6jB3OMGTk?t=560
 
Last edited:

Mendel

Senior Member.
Article:
Nuclear safety, security and safeguards experts from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) are continuing to work at the Chornobyl nuclear power plant (NPP) this week to deliver equipment, conduct radiological assessments and restore safeguards monitoring systems. The experts arrived at the site on Tuesday as part of an IAEA assistance mission led by Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi who later the same day travelled to Kiev for high-level talks with the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and the Minister of Energy, Herman Halushchenko.

Director General Grossi is returning to IAEA Headquarters in Vienna and will hold a press conference tomorrow, April 28, at 2.30 pm.

dg_zelensky_meeting.png

Article:
Responding to an earlier request from Ukraine for equipment, an IAEA team, headed by Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi, arrived at the Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant yesterday to conduct radiological assessments and restore safeguards monitoring systems as well as to deliver equipment such as radiation detectors, spectrometers and personal protective clothing.

Included in the batch of equipment are personal radiation detectors to detect and monitor radiation levels throughout the site. These robust and versatile personal radiation detectors are widely used by nuclear safety and security experts worldwide.

“The equipment, under the guidance of our staff on the ground, can be operational within minutes and can immediately support the staff at Chornobyl to fulfil their nuclear safety and security tasks,” said Carlos Torres Vidal, Director of the IAEA Incident and Emergency Centre.

The IAEA team also handed over spectrometers which assess the level of radiation in the environment and provide a spectrum that is like a fingerprint identifying the type of radiation. This will help Chornobyl staff to assess the radiological situation at the site and the Exclusion Zone, spanning 30 kilometres around the plant.

Spectrometers carried in personal backpacks were provided to support extended surveying with GPS mapping capabilities. The backpack lets the user focus on walking safely around an area instead of looking at a screen and numbers. This is especially necessary in an area like the Exclusion Zone.

As a result of the conflict and the prevailing conditions following the 1986 accident, the situation in the Exclusion Zone is uniquely challenging. Ukraine recently informed the IAEA that Chornobyl’s analytical laboratories for radiation monitoring were destroyed, and analytical instruments stolen, broken or otherwise disabled. [...]

“This is just a first step. The IAEA will be sending more equipment as we continue our assistance to Ukraine in the coming weeks and months,” added Torres Vidal.


Article:
“Today [April 26] marks 36 years since the Chornobyl nuclear power plant accident, the most severe in the history of nuclear power. I am here to pay respect to the victims of the nuclear accident and to all those who have worked tirelessly to rebuild and protect this place,” Director General Grossi said.
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
Article:
28 Apr 2022

The Director General of the International Atomic Energy Authority (IAEA), Rafael Mariano Grossi, today returned from Ukraine to the IAEA Headquarters in Vienna and held a press conference, where he briefed journalists on his visit to the Chornobyl nuclear power plant (NPP), including the results of initial radiation monitoring conducted by IAEA experts in the Chornobyl Exclusion Zone, and his talks with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

The Director General today also published a report which provides a summary of the situation in Ukraine regarding safety, security and safeguards of nuclear facilities, and activities involving radioactive sources in Ukraine. It includes actions taken by the IAEA in response to Ukraine’s request for assistance, and some initial findings of the IAEA expert missions to Ukraine led by the Director General.

Today, Ukraine’s regulator formally informed the IAEA that on 16 April 2022 on-site video surveillance recorded the flight of a missile flying directly over the South Ukraine NPP. “The IAEA is looking into this matter, which, if confirmed, would be extremely serious. Had such a missile gone astray, it could have had a severe impact on the physical integrity of the NPP potentially leading to a nuclear accident,” Director General Grossi said.

The IAEA report mentioned is at https://www.iaea.org/sites/default/files/22/04/ukraine-report.pdf . Most of the information in it has already been reported in this thread. It does state that some low-level nuclear material, as e.g. used in hospitals, in the battle zone is currently untraceable. Regarding power plant inventory, the report states that "the IAEA has not found any indication of the diversion of declared nuclear material or any indication that would give rise to a proliferation concern".

The press conference:
Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DjvLAr5JKOk
Grossi said that IAEA staff took radiation measurements in a trench close to the plant, looks like the Red Forest site that we discussed earlier:
SmartSelect_20220406-152624_Samsung Internet.jpg
3:01[edited for clarity]
20220505_120608.jpg

5:19 SmartSelect_20220505-114638_YouTube.jpg
Content from External Source
Article:
29 Apr 2022

Ukraine formally informed the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) today about the situation at the Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant (NPP), which is controlled by Russian forces but still operated by its Ukrainian staff, Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi said.

Ukraine said its nuclear specialists “continue to perform their duties and maintain, as far as possible during the war, the safety of the nuclear facilities” in the country.

Ukraine also said that Rosenergoatom – a unit of Russian state nuclear company Rosatom – had sent a group of nuclear specialists to the Zaporizhzhya NPP, naming eight. It said they demanded daily reports from plant management about “confidential issues” on the functioning of the NPP, covering aspects related to administration and management, maintenance and repair activities, security and access control, and management of nuclear fuel, spent fuel and radioactive wastes.

Ukraine separately informed the IAEA today that personnel at the Zaporizhzhya NPP – the country’s largest with six reactors – were “working under unbelievable pressure”.

Earlier this month, Ukraine informed the IAEA that “the morale and the emotional state” of staff at Zaporizhzhya were “very low”.


Article:
04 May 2022

The Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Rafael Mariano Grossi, today met with Alexey Likhachev, Director General of Russian state nuclear company Rosatom, and other senior Russian officials in Istanbul.

Director General Grossi said he was continuing timely and professional discussions where he stressed the urgency of ensuring the safety of Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant (NPP). The IAEA is ready to play its indispensable role, he added.

In relation to safeguards, following last week’s visit of IAEA inspectors and technicians to the Chornobyl NPP, data from all unattended monitoring systems installed at the site has now been fully recovered. Also, as a result of the deployment of new transmission channels based on satellite technologies, the remote transfer of the safeguards data to the Agency’s Vienna headquarters has been fully restored with the exception of one facility for which technical work is still required. The transmission from Chornobyl had been interrupted for two months. For the other NPPs in Ukraine, remote data continues to be transferred to the IAEA.

From the report:
SmartSelect_20220505-111203_Samsung Notes.jpg
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
Article:
Five weeks after Russian forces withdrew from the Chornobyl NPP, Ukraine said several facilities at the site still cannot operate normally because of, for example, disrupted logistical routes for the supply of equipment and spare parts, and lack of safe access for the necessary number of personnel to ensure safe operation. As a result, the regulatory body has been taking regulatory action including suspending some of the licences at this site.
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
Article:
06 Jun 2022

Mr Grossi emphatically reiterated his determination to lead an expert mission to the plant, saying: “We must find a solution to the hurdles preventing progress at Zaporizhzhya NPP. I will not stop pursuing this and I count on your active support.”

He noted that Ukraine’s government had last week called on him to lead such a mission, and that the Ukrainian regulator had earlier informed the IAEA that it had “lost control over the facility’s nuclear material”.

Article:
Dozens of radiation detectors are once again transmitting data from the area around the Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) after Ukraine – with technical support from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) – succeeded in reviving a vital information link that was cut at the start of the conflict more than 100 days ago, Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi said today.

The IAEA’s Incident and Emergency Centre (IEC) on 6 June began receiving radiation measurements from the Exclusion Zone set up after the 1986 Chornobyl accident, marking the successful outcome of efforts to both restore the automated collection of such data and reconnect the local monitoring stations with the Agency’s International Radiation Monitoring Information System (IRMIS).

Most of the 39 detectors sending data from the Exclusion Zone – spanning 30 kilometres around the NPP – are now visible on the IRMIS map and updated as they were before the interruption, Director General Grossi said, adding that the measurements received so far indicated radiation levels in line with those measured before the conflict.

Underlining the potential risks facing Ukraine’s nuclear facilities, the country informed the IAEA on 5 June that a cruise missile was observed flying above the South Ukraine NPP. “If a missile goes astray near a nuclear power plant, it could have a severe impact on its physical integrity, potentially leading to a nuclear accident,” the Director General said, reiterating concerns he has voiced previously regarding such events.

Ukraine also told the IAEA this week, when asked about the spare parts situation at the Russian-controlled Zaporizhzhya NPP (ZNPP), that “supply chains are disrupted or lost, and stocks of consumables and spare parts are reduced in the repair and maintenance processes”. According to the operator, however, “a reserve of consumables and spare parts was created at ZNPP to maintain nuclear safety,” Ukraine said.
 
Top