Ukrainian nuclear agency complicates dirty bomb saga

kyiv, Ukraine (HPD) — Ukraine’s nuclear operator on Tuesday offered what it suggested were clues as to what might be behind Russian claims that kyiv is preparing a “provocation” with a radioactive device, a so-called dirty bomb.

Over the weekend, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu raised this idea with his British, French, Turkish and American counterparts. Britain, France, and the United States rejected it outright, saying it was “patently false.”

kyiv dismissed Moscow’s claims as an attempt to distract attention from the Kremlin’s alleged plans to detonate a dirty bomb, which uses explosives to spread radioactive waste in an attempt to spread terror.

Energoatom, the Ukrainian nuclear operator, said that Russian forces have carried out secret construction work in the occupied Zaporizhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine for the past week.

The Russian forces occupying the area do not allow the Ukrainian personnel who manage the largest nuclear power plant in Europe or the observers of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the United Nations nuclear agency, to see what they are doing, Energoatom pointed out in a statement on Tuesday.

The company stated that it “assumes (that the Russians) are preparing a terrorist act using nuclear materials and radioactive waste stored (in the plant)”. In the facility’s dry spent fuel storage, there were 174 containers, each containing 24 units of spent nuclear fuel.

“The destruction of those containers as a result of an explosion would lead to a radioactive accident and the radiation contamination of several hundred square kilometers (miles) of adjacent territory,” it added.

Energoatom asked the IAEA to evaluate what is happening at the plant.

The White House reiterated Monday that Moscow’s accusations were false.

“That is not true. We know that’s not true,” said John Kirby, a spokesman for the National Security Council. “In the past, the Russians have sometimes blamed others for things they were planning.”

Dirty bombs do not cause the devastating destruction of a nuclear explosion but can expose large areas to radioactive contamination.

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