Lviv, Ukraine, Mar 23 (EFE).- Russian troops have destroyed a laboratory that helped manage radioactive waste at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, the Ukrainian state agency for the Chernobyl exclusion zone has said.
The Russian army seized control of the decommissioned Chernobyl atomic plant at the beginning of the invasion of Ukraine on Feb.24.
The agency said the laboratory, built for 6 million euros, was used to carry out research and critical analyses in radioactive waste management.
The lab was in the exclusion zone of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant.
It was built in 2015 with the help of European Union funds for nuclear safety cooperation.
An official statement said the laboratory housed some “highly active samples and samples of radionuclides that have landed in the hands of the enemy.”
The Chernobyl atomic power plant, which suffered the world’s worst nuclear meltdown in 1986, is not operational.
However, the facility still requires control, analysis, and surveillance.
Various radioactive waste management facilities are located at the site of the accident.
The Russian army took over the plant, located north of Kyiv, hours after they invaded Ukraine.
The plant has been a cause of concern, along with the rest of the nuclear power plants in Ukraine, for the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
The United Nations atomic watchdog said Tuesday that Ukraine had not reported any major new developments related to nuclear safety.
The nuclear safety systems were continuing to function at the country’s four operating nuclear power plants and radiation levels remain at normal levels, Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi said in a statement.
At the Chernobyl plant, whose last reactor was shut down more than two decades ago, a new shift of technical personnel was in place after the long-delayed staff rotation that began at the weekend.
It was the first change of Ukrainian personnel there since Russian forces took control of the area.
The IAEA said it was 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 Ukrainian regulator informed the watchdog, last week, it was closely monitoring the situation in the Chernobyl exclusion zone ahead of the annual “fire season” in the area contaminated by radioactive material from the accident 36 years ago. EFE