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Every nuclear power plant is a ‘dirty bomb’ in waiting: watchdog

Every nuclear power plant is a ‘dirty bomb’ in waiting: watchdog
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Every nuclear power plant is a ‘dirty bomb’ in waiting: watchdog

With Ukraine and Russia each trading renewed accusations that the other is planning to weaponize Ukrainian atomic reactors, a leading anti-nuclear group warned Wednesday that all such power plants have the potential to become radioactive “dirty bombs.”

“Like all nuclear power plants, Ukraine’s reactors are inherently dangerous pre-deployed nuclear weapons,” Maryland-based Beyond Nuclear said in a statement. “Nuclear power plants—and their mounting inventory of high-level nuclear waste—are inherently dangerous and their use should be permanently discontinued.”

The group’s warning comes as Russian officials this week doubled down on unfounded allegations that Ukraine is planning to weaponize a nuclear reactor, while Ukrainian officials accused Russia of carrying out secret construction work at the occupied Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, the largest such facility in Europe.

Russia’s August shelling of Zaporizhzhia, as well as last month’s Russian missile strike a few hundred meters from the South Ukraine Nuclear Power Plant near Yuzhnoukrainsk, have raised eyebrows and alarm among nuclear experts and other observers around the world. Experts also fear that possible Russian destruction of Ukrainian dams and other hydroelectrical infrastructure could leave the Zaporizhzhia plant without enough water to cool its reactors.

“The reality all of this exposes is that nuclear power plants are inherently dangerous with their large inventories of radioactive materials that must be protected for hundreds to thousands of years from escaping into the environment,” Paul Gunter, Beyond Nuclear’s director of reactor oversight, said in Wednesday’s statement.

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