Atom Hunters: How the Russians Robbed the Chornobyl Laboratory

The exclusion zone around the Chernobyl nuclear power plant was under occupation for the first month of the Russian invasion. The retreating Russians destroyed two research laboratories.

The laboratories were designed to study current issues of radiation exposure, characteristics of substances, options for handling radioactive materials for further decision-making on work in different directions in the exclusion zone.

The Central Analytical Laboratory was destroyed, and there was a penetration into the storage of ionizing radiation sources, which stored exemplary radioactive solutions.

The occupiers stole and damaged 133 sources with a total activity of about 7 million becquerels. This is comparable to 700 kg of radioactive waste with beta and gamma radiation. Even a small part of this activity is deadly if handled unprofessionally and uncontrollably.

The offices and laboratory of the Institute for Nuclear Safety were also looted and destroyed by Russian marauding invaders. Computers, office equipment, laboratory equipment and measuring devices were removed or destroyed. Garages with vehicles used to deliver scientists to research sites were also looted.

The other labs housed sources of ionizing radiation and samples of fuel-containing materials from the Shelter that were used by the researchers.

According to the head of the monitoring center Mykola Bespaly, all the information in the laboratory was not secret and was publicly available. Based on these data, scientific papers and articles are published.

The Russians stole the software, because it is exclusive to each equipment, and then on the basis of the stolen software for Rosatom stations can be developed. Therefore, it is not a matter of collecting military data, but of looting and deliberate destruction of what is left.

A special commission is currently working to determine the financial damage. Currently, the administration plans to restore the company and hopes for help from international financial organizations.

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