Radioactive materials were stolen from Chernobyl lab, warns Ukrainian nuclear expert
A nuclear security expert has warned that a monitoring lab in the village of Chernobyl was raided, with thieves looting radioactive ingredients that could be mixed with explosives to create a ‘dirty bomb’ amid the chaos caused by the invasion Russian.
Anatolii Nosovskyi, director of the Institute for Safety Problems of Nuclear Power Plants (ISPNPP) in Kyiv, said he had lost contact with the lab, so “the fate of these sources is unknown to us.”
He told Science that if such a bomb were to be made, created with the radioactive isotopes and radioactive waste that was supposed to be taken, a large area could be contaminated.
Kremlin forces occupied the Chernobyl station (pictured in 2017) in the early days of the invasion last month
Mr Nosovskyi added that Putin’s forces left firefighters unable to put out fires in the exclusion zone, risking a “significant deterioration in the radiation situation in Ukraine and across Europe”.
He said remote measurements do not suggest the concentrations of radioactive particles in the smoke pose a health hazard, but added that an automated monitoring system that shut down with the March 9 power outage is still offline.
It comes as Lyudmila Denisova, Verkhovna Rada commissioner for human rights, said there were “more than 10,000 hectares of forest burning in the exclusion zone of the CAEC zone due to actions of combat”, aggravated by windy and dry weather.
Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk also accused Russia of “irresponsible” acts around the occupied power station that could send radiation across much of Europe and called on the UN Security Council to take action. “immediate measures”.
A nuclear safety expert has warned that a radiation monitoring laboratory in the village of Chernobyl has been raided. Pictured is a Soviet-era radar system above the skyline in Chernobyl, in 2018
She said Putin’s army “poses a very serious threat not only to Ukraine, but also to hundreds of millions of Europeans” in a Facebook post, accusing Russia of using “old and unconditional”, creating a risk of damaging the containment vessel built around the station’s destroyed fourth reactor.
The use of old and poorly maintained weapons increases the risk of detonation “even when loading and transporting”, Ms Vereshchuk added, saying that Russian troops are transporting the equipment via Pripyat, just under three kilometers from the power station.
She added: “Additional storage of hundreds of tons of ammunition is carried out next to the city of Chernobyl, which is also a short distance from the nuclear power plant.”
Mr Nosovskyi called the actions of Russian troops “nuclear terrorism”
Kremlin forces occupied the Chernobyl station in the early days of the invasion last month and for a time prevented the staff maintaining the facilities there from leaving or being driven out by other workers.
The mayor of Slavutych, the town created and built to house factory personnel following the 1986 crash, said Monday morning that the Russian forces that took control of the town over the weekend were now parts.
Soldiers during tactical exercises for Ukrainian Interior Ministry units ahead of last month’s invasion, in Pripyat
Yuri Fomichev said in an online video that the troops “completed the work they planned to do” and left. He initially said three people had been killed in clashes.
Fomichev was last week released from captivity after hundreds of residents and families staged a mass protest – despite sound grenades being thrown into the crowd.
He was briefly detained by Russian soldiers after taking over the town, which is home to personnel working at the Chernobyl nuclear site.
‘I have been released. Everything is fine, as far as possible under occupation,” the mayor said, after officials in Ukraine’s capital Kyiv announced earlier that he had been arrested.
A deal was struck that the Russians would leave if those with guns handed them over to the mayor with a waiver for those with shotguns, according to the Guardian.
A projectile (the bright light, bottom left) landing in a parking lot at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, damaging cars in the area, earlier this month
Fire-damaged buildings at the Zaporizhzhya nuclear complex are pictured this month after they were attacked by Russian forces
kyiv said earlier that Vladimir Putin’s troops entered Slavutych and occupied the city hospital.
Last week, concerns of a nuclear disaster were raised after Russian troops began shelling the city.
The attack came just days after Ukrainian technicians detained by Russian forces to maintain the disused nuclear power plant for nearly four weeks without rotation were finally able to return home to Slavutych.
Earlier this month, Russian forces also bombed Europe’s largest nuclear power plant in Zaporizhzhia.
A few days later, rockets set fire to the Kharkiv Institute of Physics and Technology, which contains nuclear materials and a reactor.