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Ukraine has notified the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that it has carried out its first staff rotation at the Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) in three weeks.

This is the second staff rotation since late February, when the Russian military took over the control of the site.

The staff at the site were previously rotated on 20-21 March.

IAEA director-general Rafael Mariano Grossi said that the staff rotation was ‘important’ at the nuclear power facility, which was controlled by the Russian military for five weeks until 31 March.

Grossi said: “While it is very positive that Ukrainian authorities are gradually restoring regulatory control of the Chornobyl site, it is clear that a lot of work remains to return the site to normality.

“As soon as it is possible, I will head an IAEA mission to Chornobyl to conduct a radiological assessment there, resume remote safeguard monitoring of the facility and its nuclear material, and deliver equipment, including spare parts and components, for the NPP’s safe and secure operation.

“I’m in close consultations with Ukraine on setting a date and organising a programme of work for the visit, which is expected to take place soon.”

Ukrainian state-owned nuclear power operator Energoatom, which operates all four of Ukraine’s nuclear facilities, said that all the Chornobyl staff members were moved from the site via a boat on the Pripyat River.

It said that the transportation of staff emphasises that the situation at the NPP and its Exclusion Zone remains far from normal.

Energoatom added that river transportation is currently the only available option for people living in the city of Slavutych outside the Exclusion Zone to get to the NPP.

Ukraine also said that an Information and Communication Centre had been raided, with parts of its communication lines having been destroyed.

The automated transmission of radiation monitoring data from the centre has also been disabled.