KYIV, Ukraine – Ukraine’s nuclear power operator said on Tuesday that Russian forces were carrying out clandestine work at Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, an operation that could shed light on Russia’s claims that its military The Ukrainian team is preparing a “provocative action” involving a radioactive device.
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu made unsubstantiated accusations that Ukraine was preparing to launch a dirty bomb. Shoigu leveled the charge over the weekend in calls to his British, French, Turkish and US counterparts. Britain, France and the United States dismissed it as “clearly wrong.”
Ukraine also dismissed Moscow’s claim as an attempt to distract attention from the Kremlin’s own alleged plans to detonate a dirty bomb, which used explosives to scatter radiation in order to sow fear. aghast.
Energoatom, the Ukrainian state-owned enterprise that operates four of the country’s nuclear power plants, said Russian forces carried out clandestine construction work last week at the occupied Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine.
The Russian officials that control the site will not allow Ukrainian employees to run the plant or monitor from the United Nations atomic energy watchdog to allow them to see what the Russians are doing, Energoatom said. said Tuesday in a statement.
Energoatom said it “assume” the Russians “are preparing an act of terrorism using nuclear material and radioactive waste stored at” the plant. It said there are 174 tanks at the plant’s spent dry fuel storage facility, each containing 24 spent nuclear fuel assemblies.
“The destruction of these containers by explosion will result in radiation accidents and radiation pollution for several hundred square kilometers (miles) of the adjacent territory,” the company said.
It called on the International Atomic Energy Agency to assess what was happening.
The United Nations Security Council is scheduled to hold closed-door consultations on the dirty bomb allegations late Tuesday at Russia’s request.
The Kremlin has stressed that its warning about Ukraine’s plans to use dirty bombs should be taken seriously and criticized Western nations for shrugging.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Moscow’s rejection of the warning was “unacceptable given the seriousness of the danger we mentioned”.
Speaking on a conference call with reporters, Peskov added: “We once again emphasize the grave danger posed by the plans hatched by the Ukrainians.”
The White House on Monday again stressed that Russia’s allegations are untrue.
“It is not true. We know that’s not true,” said John Kirby, a spokesman for the National Security Council. “In the past, Russians sometimes blamed others for what they were going to do.”
Dirty bombs are not as destructive as a nuclear explosion, but can expose large areas to radioactive contamination.
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