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IAEA could send team to Chernobyl to assess situation at nuclear plant

Ukrainian units exercise as they simulate a crisis situation in an urban settlement, in the abandoned city of Pripyat near the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, February 4 2022.
Ukrainian units exercise as they simulate a crisis situation in an urban settlement, in the abandoned city of Pripyat near the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, February 4 2022. Copyright Mykola Tymchenko/AP Photo, FILE
Copyright Mykola Tymchenko/AP Photo, FILE
By Euronews
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Russian troops reportedly handed back control of Chernobyl to Ukrainians.

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The International Atomic Energy Agency could send its first support mission to Chernobyl after the nuclear power plant came back under Ukrainian control on Friday.

The UN nuclear watchdog said it was in "close consultation with Ukrainian authorities" about sending in a team after they were informed that Russian forces had transferred control of the plant to Ukraine.

Russian forces took over the plant, which is the location of the 1986 nuclear accident, on 24 February.

The IAEA said they were seeking further information about reports of Russian forces receiving high doses of radiation while located in the Chernobyl exclusion zone.

IAEA director-general Rafael Mariano Grossi said that there was a "relatively higher level of localised radiation" due to the movement of heavy vehicles when the plant was first occupied and said that it may have been the case again on the way out.

He added that he hoped the IAEA would be able to bring technical equipment as needed to each power plant in Ukraine.

The agency had previously expressed concerns about a lack of staff rotation at the site after Russia took control of the plant.

The organisation had called for those who work at the plant to do so under "normal circumstances".

Grossi said there needed to be areas where there is no shelling or conflict to allow the IAEA to access the power plants.

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