Russian troops destroyed decades of Chernobyl data, Ukrainian officials say
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Russian forces have destroyed data stored for decades after occupying the Chernobyl nuclear power plant (NPP) for 35 days, Ukrainian officials reported this week.
“This is the remnant of our Chernobyl documents and archives. What we have been collecting for decades, some prostitutes have just thrown in the trash,” said Oleksandar Sirota, chairman of the Public Council under Ukraine’s State Agency for Exclusion Zone Management. In a translated Facebook post on Thursday.
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Representatives of the state agency posted pictures of the trash bin with the complaint, along with images in the document that show missing servers that monitor radiation levels in the area.
The UN nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), said Russian forces, who had occupied Chernobyl since the first day of the February 24 attack, had evacuated the area.
Russian troops withdrew from Chernobyl last week after Russian negotiators said they would withdraw troops from the capital Kyiv, about 55 miles from Chernobyl, and the area around the northern city of Chernihiv.
Ukraine told the IAEA on Thursday that it had begun “the process of resuming regulatory control of the NPP”.
The IAEA said it wanted to inspect the site of the 1986 nuclear disaster “to assess the radiation situation as soon as possible.”
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Ukrainian officials have been warning for weeks that unprotected Russian forces are carrying armored vehicles through an area known as the “Red Forest” to pick up clouds of radioactive dust.
And recent drone footage has shown that trenches have been dug in “contaminated areas” across the exclusion zone.
The nuclear watchdog said it had been unable to independently verify the reporting, which suggested that Russian forces had received “high levels of radiation.”
“It is very important that the IAEA travel to Chernobyl so that we can take urgent steps to assist Ukraine in ensuring nuclear safety and security there,” said Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi. “I am working closely with our Ukrainian counterparts to arrange such a visit as soon as possible.”
Ukraine has eight nuclear reactors, two of which are under the control of Russian forces occupying Zaporizhzhya. Others are closed for “regular maintenance”.
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