IAEA to have results of Ukraine nuke plant inspections in a few days

United Nations, Oct 27 (EFE).- Inspectors with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will have the results of their analysis of Ukrainian nuclear plants “in a few days” after Russia’s accusations that Kyiv is preparing a so-called “dirty bomb” – conventional explosives laced with radioactive material – at those facilities.

IAEA director Rafael Grossi on Thursday met behind closed doors with the Security Council after which he told reporters that the inspections will begin “in a couple of days” and will consist of looking for diverted cesium and strontium at a nuclear plant near Kyiv where the UN agency in September denied that any nuclear risk existed.

Grossi said that the accusations filed with the IAEA were serious because they were made by “a top Russian official” but for the inspections to be undertaken they had to contact the Ukrainian government, and he went on to praise Kyiv for its openness and willingness to let the inspectors do their work at the plants operated by Ukrainian authorities.

“The purpose of this week’s safeguards visits is to detect any possible undeclared nuclear activities and materials related to the development of ‘dirty bombs,'” Grossi said in a statement, adding “The IAEA inspected one of the two locations a month ago and no undeclared nuclear activities or materials were found there.”

The IAEA chief also insisted to the Security Council on the need to create a security zone around the huge Zaporizhzhia nuclear center – which is on Ukrainian territory but has been occupied by invading Russian troops since March – something that he said was of extreme concern, adding that the whole world is in agreement with establishing a security zone although accomplishing it is taking “too long.”

Earlier on Thursday afternoon, the Security Council held another meeting, this one public, requested by Moscow so that it could once again denounce what is says it a program to create biological weapons being pursued jointly by the Ukrainian and US governments.

The accusation, which Russia has made on several occasions at the UN in recent months, has been denied time and again by both Kyiv and Washington, who say that the installations Moscow had pointed to as the ones where the bio-warfare program is being pursued are nothing more than centers for the investigation of diseases.

US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield said that everyone knows that Russia’s accusations are “fabrications” presented without any proof.

The UN, meanwhile, confirmed that no Ukrainian program of the kind Russia is denouncing exists.

On Thursday, Washington and its allies denounced the session requested by Russia as a waste of time and an attempt to misinform public opinion.

Russia’s envoy to the international body, Vasily Nebenzia, meanwhile, confirmed that his delegation has prepared a draft resolution that would order an international investigation into the alleged bio-weapons program, but from the outset such a resolution does not have the necessary support among Security Council members to be adopted or to come to fruition.

EFE mvs-fjo/rrt/bp

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