Ukraine: Russia Destroyed Lab at Chernobyl

Control of radioactive material samples has been lost, Ukraine says
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 23, 2022 7:25 PM CDT
Ukraine: Russia Destroyed Lab at Chernobyl
A Ukrainian firefighter shouts to a colleague while trying to extinguish a fire inside a house hit by shelling Wednesday in Kyiv.   (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)

(Newser) – Russian military forces have destroyed a new laboratory at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant that among other things works to improve management of radioactive waste, the Ukrainian state agency responsible for the Chernobyl exclusion zone said Tuesday. The Russian military seized the decommissioned plant at the beginning of the war. The exclusion zone is the contaminated area around the plant, site of the world's worst nuclear meltdown in 1986. The state agency said the laboratory, built at a cost of 6 million euros with support from the European Commission, opened in 2015, the AP reports.

The laboratory contained "highly active samples and samples of radionuclides that are now in the hands of the enemy, which we hope will harm itself and not the civilized world," the agency said in its statement. Radionuclides are unstable atoms of chemical elements that release radiation. Ukraine's nuclear regulatory agency had reported Monday that radiation monitors around the plant had stopped working. Several fires were burning near the plant, Ukraine said, adding that they probably were caused by Russian artillery or arson, per CNN. On Wednesday, per the AP, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky criticized Russia for attacking Chernobyl and lamented the length of time it will take to clean up the site once the fighting has stopped.

(Read more Russia-Ukraine conflict stories.)

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