The SSU has collected irrefutable evidence that the units of the russian armed forces, which captured the facilities of the state-owned specialized enterprise Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant and controlled them from February 24 to March 31, 2022, committed an act of nuclear terrorism.
Although the reactors are not operating, the plant remains a huge complex with three storage facilities for spent nuclear fuel and a number of sites with radioactive waste.
By turning this facility into their temporary military base, russia flagrantly violated the Geneva Convention, which explicitly forbids attacks on nuclear facilities in the conditions of an armed conflict.
It has been established that on February 24, russian military, threatening the staff with heavy weapons, entered the territory of Chernobyl NPP and nuclear waste storage facilities.
During the temporary occupation, the invaders violated all nuclear safety norms, they:
- damaged the premises, mined the territory and provoked a number of fires, thus launching uncontrolled processes;
- made it impossible to carry out regular external monitoring of radiation, supply spare parts, fuel and consumables;
- kept staff in stressful conditions, increasing the likelihood of professional mistakes.
The SSU has documentary evidence confirming that:
- during the occupation, a large amount of heavy military equipment, weapons and over 1,000 personnel of russian army were constantly located in the exclusion zone;
- military personnel was stationed directly on the territory of radiation-hazardous facilities (300 individuals) and the SVYAP-2 facility for interim storage of dry spent nuclear fuel (30 individuals);
- occupiers equipped 5 firing points in the storage facility, where work is carried out with used material from plutonium-239 reactors;
- the exclusion zone has been mined: over 100 mines have been discovered, 3 of them exploded;
- in early March, occupiers damaged the communication towers, which caused the radiation situation monitoring system to malfunction;
- on March 9, the enterprise was almost completely cut off from electricity, which practically paralyzed the operation of all control and security systems. In particular, the cooling system for spent nuclear fuel was turned off;
- as a result of hostilities and deliberate arson, according to the NASA and the European Space Agency systems, significant fires (covering almost 14,000 hectares) were recorded in the exclusion zone when occupiers stayed there. The situation was also complicated by the inability of firefighters to extinguish them;
- occupiers looted the enterprises of the exclusion zone, stealing, among other property, specialized equipment and fuel. This jeopardized fire and radiation safety in the exclusion zone;
- the unique Ecocenter lab, the equipment for which was funded by the European Commission (EUR 6 mln), was robbed and destroyed. The equipment purchased with the funds of Fukushima University as part of a Japanese-Ukrainian project under the SATREPS program was also stolen. During the occupation, physical protection system at Chernobyl NPP was disabled and a mobile radiation intelligence lab worth UAH 2.5 mln was stolen;
- 21 sources of ionizing radiation with a total radioactivity of almost 7 mln Bq were stolen. This is enough to make an area of almost 2,000 square meters unsafe for people to live in;
- occupiers were carrying out earthworks on the territory of the temporary radioactive waste containment facility The Red Forest.
The territory of the exclusion zone has not yet been de-mined. This violates the integrity of the facility’s radiation safety system, which Ukraine has been building together with international partners for decades. The probability of uncontrolled explosions and fires caused by them remains too high.
The SSU is recording and investigating the occupiers’ crimes and has already notified the invader who gave the order to storm Chernobyl NPP of suspicion – this is the former deputy commander of Siberian District of the National Guard of russia major general O. Yakushev.
The SSU also notified the deputy commander of the combined special purpose unit of the National Guard of russia in Bryansk region colonel
A. Frolenkov of suspicion: this official directly supervised the actions of his subordinates during the attack on this facility.
The investigation is ongoing to identify and bring to justice all individuals involved in nuclear terrorism.
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