UN monitors could be on ground to avoid 'Chernobyl-style' incident, says Deputy PM

6 March 2022, 11:58

By Emma Soteriou

UN monitors could be used on the ground to avoid a "Chernobyl-style" incident in Ukraine, Dominic Raab has told LBC.

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Speaking on LBC's Swarbrick on Sunday, Mr Raab said he was "very confident" the move was being discussed due to the gravity of another Chernobyl-style incident taking place.

It came after Boris Johnson said in an interview with German paper Welt am Sonntag that a system for protecting nuclear plants, "ensuring that radioactivity levels are monitored by international authorities, such as the UN and the IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency] on the ground, is going to be extremely important" moving forward.

Asked by Tom if it was being actively looked at, Mr Raab said: "I think there's clearly a case for trying to make sure, as we do elsewhere around the world, particularly in relation to nuclear facilities, that there is an oversight both to provide the technical capacity but also the international reassurance."

He went on to say: "I need to check in with Liz Truss as to the scale of the discussions that have taken place."

"I am very confident it is being discussed among our broader international allies because the exponential risk of leaking or a Chernobyl-style incident is incredibly grave," Mr Raab added.

"So, of course, that's going to be a concern to everyone in Nato but also even further afield."

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It came after Tom asked: "How does the Government envisage that happening without some body - UN or Nato or somebody else - going in to oversee and protect those nuclear facilities?"

"There's a big difference between the IAEA or the UN and Nato," Mr Raab explained.

He added: "The relevant international body is normally the IAEA, and we will of course talk with our international partners to see what may or may not be possible.

"I think it's the specific technical issues plus the reassurance that not just Ukraine needs, but Europe and the rest of the world, given the potential global reach of a disaster like that."

The step up in concerns follows Russia's attack on the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant - the biggest atomic power plant in Europe.

Part of the plant was set on fire, raising worldwide fears of a nuclear disaster like Chernobyl in 1986.

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