A potential artillery strike on concrete containers with spent fuel, if any, at the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant (NPP) may lead to a "dirty bomb" effect, Mikhail Chudakov, the deputy director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), told Sputnik.
"If there is spent fuel in dry storage in concrete containers at the site, it is enough for an artillery shell to land there to get a 'dirty bomb.' There is no need to look for a bomb in the form of a bomb," Chudakov, who is also the head of the IAEA Department of Nuclear Energy, said.
The protective hermetic shell — a three-meter concrete wall — will not withstand an artillery strike, the official explained.
"I once saw a hole two meters [6.6 feet] in diameter in the Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant [in Iran], and by that time there was no fuel there. Then it was hit by a missile, which easily pierced and melted a containment wall," Chudakov told Sputnik.
In late October, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu called his counterparts in several Western countries to share Moscow's concerns about the preparation of a dirty bomb in Ukraine.
The IAEA decided to send its experts to several locations in Ukraine to investigate Kiev's activities in connection with Russia's warnings. However, Russia's permanent representative to the United Nations Vassily Nebenzia told IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi on October 27 to consider that Kiev could quite possibly be developing a dirty bomb at other sites than those the IAEA mission had been invited to visit.
On November 3, the IAEA said its inspectors had completed inspections at three sites in Ukraine and had not identified any undeclared activity there. Grossi said the agency was ready to continue conducting inspections in Ukraine to make sure there were no undeclared activities.
Mikhail Ulyanov, the Russian permanent representative to international organizations in Vienna, said the IAEA investigation was rather superficial, lasted only several hours, and nobody should have expected "dirty bombs" to be stored in plain sight.