Vienna, March 8 (RFE/RL) - The International Atomic
Energy Agency (IAEA) has confirmed what the agency classifies as a
"serious incident" at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant last year.
The "incident" is not classified as an "accident," but it did result
in serious contamination in a part of the power plant, and a worker
was dangerously exposed.
The IAEA, a Vienna-based, United Nations monitoring agency, said
the incident occurred as a spent fuel rod was being replaced, and
began leaking. The contamination was, at first, not detected - and
went undetected until a worker in the reactor building was found to
have been exposed to almost a year's maximum radiation dose in just
minutes. IAEA spokesman Hans Frederick Myer ttold RFE/RL that the
worker is well, and being closely monitored.
A first report yesterday by Ukraine's "Unian" news agency said the
incident was not reported until state inspectors later detected the
serious contamination in the reactor building. The report said the
contamination, which occured in mid-November, was not cleared up
until December 1995.