Around half of the staff of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant (Chernobyl NPP) went home Sunday three weeks after Russian troops captured the facility and essentially kidnapped plant workers.
Of the 64 workers who were sent home were 50 employees from Chernobyl NPP, nine members of the National Guard of Ukraine, and a servicewoman from the National Emergency Service, according to State Specialized Enterprise’s (Chernobyl AES) Facebook post.
“It is a positive – albeit long overdue – development that some staff at the Chornobyl (sic) NPP have now rotated and returned to their families. They deserve our full respect and admiration for having worked in these extremely difficult circumstances,” International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director-General Rafael Mariano Grossi said.
Ukrainian workers, 46 in total, relieved the 64 workers to continue the operations at the power plant, according to Chernobyl AES.
The Chernobyl NPP staff had worked for 600 hours since the Russian troops occupied the plant on February 24. Chernobyl AES said that these workers maintained the appropriate level of safety at the power plant.
IAEA said that the Russian occupation at the Chernobyl NPP has compromised one of the nuclear safety pillars Grossi outlined, which states that “operating staff must be able to fulfill their safety and security duties and have the capacity to make decisions free of undue pressure.”
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