UN nuclear inspection finds no evidence of Russia’s ‘dirty bomb’ claim

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International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi during a briefing in Kyiv, Ukraine in October 2022. Photo: Maxym Marusenko/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) have found no indication of undeclared nuclear material and activities at three nuclear facility sites in Ukraine, the UN agency said on Thursday.

Why is this important: The inspections, which were launched at the request of the Ukrainian government, appear to refute recent unsubstantiated Russian allegations that Ukraine intends to produce and detonate a “dirty bomb” on its own soil.

  • “Dirty bombs” are explosive devices that include both conventional explosives and nuclear materials. They can produce widespread radioactive contamination but are not considered the same as traditional nuclear weapons.
  • Ukraine does not have a nuclear weapons program, but it is heavily dependent on nuclear energy.

Enlarge: Russia specifically reported undeclared nuclear activities at the Kyiv Institute of Nuclear Research, the Eastern Mining and Processing Plant in Zhovti Kody and the Machine-Building Plant in Kyiv. Pivdennyi production association in Dnipro.

  • The IAEA said its inspectors found no indication of undeclared nuclear material and activities at the sites.
  • The inspectors also took environmental samples at the sites that would provide additional information on current and past activities at the sites related to the handling of nuclear materials.
  • IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi said the agency would publish the results of the environmental samples “as soon as possible”.

What they say : “At the request of the Government of Ukraine, I immediately dispatched inspectors to the three sites to carry out their indispensable technical and independent role in verifying the facts on the ground. Within days, they were there and carried out their safeguards activities, in difficult circumstances. during the current conflict in Ukraine,” Grossi said.

  • “Our technical and scientific assessment of the results we have so far have shown no signs of undeclared nuclear material and activities at these three sites,” he said.

The big picture: Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu raised the ‘dirty bomb’ allegation during calls with defense ministers from the US, France, UK and Turkey last month .

Go further: Russia warns US satellites could be targeted for ‘retaliation’

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