Ukrainian Dirty Bomb: Issue Excluded from Nuclear Security Summit Agenda

Ukrainian Dirty Bomb: Issue Excluded from Nuclear Security Summit Agenda

In the January 1994 Trilateral Statement, Ukraine committed to full disarmament to make numerous US consultants and observers come to the country.

The US interest was easy to explain. In 1991 just one Ukrainian city – Kharkiv – hosted over 250 research facilities. Many of them specialized in space and defense research. After the Soviet Union collapsed, the funding was stopped and research activities were suspended. Collapsing economy and high unemployment rate made Ukrainian scientists desperate, so the employers from the United States came just in time…

In 1993 the Science and Technology Center in Ukraine commonly known as the STCU, was established by Americans allegedly as an intergovernmental organization dedicated to the non-proliferation of nuclear, biological and chemical weaponry and related technologies. It has been headed by US citizens from the very start. They ensured that the field of research met the interests of the US military. The Ukrainian researchers with access to technological documentation received special attention. Those with the most valuable expertise were offered to move to the United States. Many of them accepted the offer.

The STCU leadership made no secret of the fact that its mission was to bring together as many experts related to defense and space research as it could. The main thing was to deny Russia access to the results of the work. The research equipment produced in the United States and Europe was sent to Ukraine. Normally, it was used equipment with its service life nearing the end. The US installed the new equipment at home while sending the obsolete pieces to Ukraine, so it did not have to spend the money for disposal.

In 2011 the US Argonne National Laboratory transferred to Kharkov Institute of Physics and Technology equipment for a neutron source facility. The defects in equipment prevented it from being used in the United States, so it was decided to move it to Ukraine. Ukrainian President Poroshenko said it was «a good example of cooperation in the field of nuclear security and non-proliferation of nuclear weapons».

They started to hastily build the facility in 2014. According to the rules, specialists from other countries were to be present during the assembly works and an expert in the field was to oversee the installation of the pieces he or she specialized in. The combat actions in the eastern part of the country prevented the experts from coming. The works has not been finished as of today.

According to reliable sources, the United States make Ukraine receive other used nuclear-related equipment, for instance, the Varian's Clinac 2300 System Linear Accelerator.

What do Americans need it for? Seemingly, one of the reasons is that the cost of disposal on US soil exceeds the expenditure of moving the equipment to Ukraine.

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In April 2015 Oleksandr Turchynov, then Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine, stated that the Ukrainian authorities were allegedly bracing themselves for implementation of a number of unspecified confidential nuclear programs to create either nuclear weapons or a ‘dirty bomb’.

Even though the statement itself sounded ridiculous, attention still should be given to the issue. There are various sources of nuclear material for the production of a ‘dirty bomb’ available. There were substantial quantities of enriched uranium in the Ukrainian nuclear research related institutes. Nobody knows exactly how much of it remained after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Another source is the nuclear waste of the five nuclear power stations that Ukraine operates at present. Besides, the medical equipment used to fight cancer with the help of radiotherapy can also be used to get nuclear materials as it is replaced by the US-made second hand VARIAN Clinac 2300 linear accelerators.

What game does the Kiev government plays talking about the possible production of a ‘dirty bomb’ to be used against Russia?

A dirty bomb or radiological dispersal device (RDD) is a radiological weapon that combines radioactive material with conventional explosives. The purpose of the weapon is to disperse radioactive material over a large area. It is, however, not to be confused with a nuclear explosion, such as a fission bomb, which by releasing nuclear energy produces blast effects far in excess of what is achievable by the use of conventional explosives.

It is thought that a ‘dirty bomb’ can be used by a country, which has no technology nor money to produce a real nuclear munition. The contamination of vast areas can cause wide spread panic. It’s easy to produce such munitions in any quantity. Experts call it a weapon of terrorists.

Ukraine has become the first state in the world where officials state that they consider the possibility of using this kind of weapon.

Unfortunately, it’s not known if this fact has attracted the attention of those who are taking part in the nuclear security summit to wind up on Friday in Washington.