HomeEuropeUN nuclear experts to inspect Russia’s ‘dirty bomb’ allegations

UN nuclear experts to inspect Russia’s ‘dirty bomb’ allegations

A team of nuclear safety and security experts will investigate Russia’s unfounded claims that Ukraine is building a “dirty bomb,” the head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog said.

The experts will carry out “verification activities” at two facilities in Ukraine where Russia says the bombs are being prepared, he added. A dirty bomb combines conventional explosives, such as dynamite, with radioactive materials.

“Allegations have been made, inspections are on the way,” Rafael Mariano Grossi, the director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said Thursday.

His comments came in response to Russia’s U.N. envoy Vasily Nebenzya, who said following a meeting of the U.N. Security Council: “We would be happy to be mistaken, but we cannot simply ignore these allegations, which are very serious and which may lead to very unfortunate consequences.”

Ukraine strongly disputes the allegations. Earlier this week, the foreign ministers of France, the U.K. and the U.S. said in a statement they reject Russia’s “patently false accusations.” NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg also called Russia’s accusations “absurd.”

The IAEA investigators will be looking for evidence of attempts to manufacture a bomb, as well as “direct nuclear material, [like] enriched uranium, plutonium, thorium” and for “certain isotopes, cesium, and strontium” that could have been reprocessed as bomb material, Grossi said in a press conference late Thursday. He added that he expects the team to present their conclusions “in a couple of days.”

The agency will also send more experts to Ukraine “in the next few weeks” to assess the situation at several nuclear facilities, including the decommissioned Chernobyl plant and the South Ukraine nuclear power plant.

Discussions with Ukraine and Russia on establishing a safety and security protection zone around the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, which is currently under Russian occupation, are “taking far too long,” said Grossi, but he added that the agency is “making progress.”

“Everybody agrees that there must be a protection zone,” he said.

Earlier this week, a senior Russian diplomat said Russia supports the idea of the protection zone, Russian state-owned news agency TASS reported.



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