Russia destroys Chernobyl lab, gaining ‘highly active samples’
The Russian military has reportedly destroyed a laboratory near the decommissioned Chernobyl nuclear power plant that was working to improve the management of nuclear waste and contained “highly active samples.”
The State Agency of Ukraine on Exclusion Zone Management said in a statement on social media that Russian forces had destroyed the most recently established laboratory in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone.
The laboratory, which was created with the cooperation of the European Union, sought to improve the infrastructure for handling radioactive materials. According to the agency, the lab cost 6 million euros.
The facility also held “highly active samples” and “samples of radionuclides” which the agency said are now in the “hands of the enemy” as opposed to those of a “civilized world.”
Russian forces took control of Chernobyl early in the invasion. After the defunct nuclear plant was seized, more than 60 workers continued to work for about 600 hours to maintain the facility until volunteers were able to replace them.
Earlier this week, Ukrainian nuclear operator Energoatom said that the automated radiation monitoring system in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone had stopped working.
The agency said there was no data on “the current state of radiation pollution in the Exclusion Zone, which makes it impossible to adequately respond to threats of deterioration of radiation situations in the Exclusion Zone.”