A dirty bomb, or radiological dispersal device, is any kind of explosive device that has been mixed with radioactive material, such as radioactive powder or pellets. When it explodes, it does not create a nuclear blast. But it does spread the radioactive material into the surrounding area, which can cause immediate serious illness to people who live within the proximity of the initial blast.
In an interview with the magazine Science, ISPNPP Director Anatolii Nosovskyi claimed that looters raided a monitoring lab in Chernobyl city, 10 miles to the southeast of the nuclear power plant.
The laboratory monitored radiation levels in the nuclear power plant. According to Nosovskyi, the looters stole radioactive isotopes used to calibrate instruments and pieces of radioactive waste. This radioactive waste could be mixed with conventional explosives to create a dirty bomb. (Related: Assessment forecasts "nightmare scenario" of nuclear World War III over rising potential for operational miscalculation regarding Ukraine.)
Nosovskyi said the lab contained "powerful sources of gamma and neutron radiation" used to test devices, as well as strong radioactive samples leftover from the 1986 disaster. "The fate of these sources is unknown to us," said Nosovskyi.
Thousands of other sites all over Ukraine contain radiological materials. Some of these sites have already fallen under Russian control, while others are still in the middle of ongoing battles. One of these sites is the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant in the city of the same name in southern Ukraine.
The plant, Europe's largest nuclear power plant, was shelled by Russian forces on March 4, and then struck by a rocket attack. The second attack damaged a research reactor used to generate neutrons for experiments. This attack was universally condemned, and Nosovskyi himself labeled the assault against the plant as nothing short of state-sponsored "nuclear terrorism."
Most of the sites with radiological materials are still under the control of Ukraine's nuclear regulator and efforts are ongoing to secure any radioactive material and move them into vaults and repositories outside of the war zone.
Multiple mainstream media outlets have published Nosovskyi's statement, taking it at face value and not doing what journalists should do – which is verify the information. Nosovskyi has not provided any proof for any of his claims.
When Russian forces took over the Chernobyl monitoring lab, the Ukrainian scientists who remained were able to broker a deal to keep the plant running and make sure Russian soldiers did not interfere with the essential work. In exchange, the lab's Ukrainian guards would disarm and surrender.
The scientists who stayed behind have worked at the facility for nearly a month before some of them left for a shift change. They would likely be able to confirm whether or not the supposedly stolen radioactive materials are still at the lab. But conveniently enough, Maxim Saveliev, a senior scientist working for the ISPNPP, said the organization is no longer in contact with them.
When Russian nuclear specialists conducted an inspection of the recently-captured Central Analytical Laboratory in the Chernobyl plant's complex, they found excess levels of radiation and materials said to match the substances needed to make a dirty bomb.
If Russian claims are accurate, then Ukraine is the one with the materials to create a dirty bomb.
"Do these people think that Russia didn't already have access to these materials," wrote Kelen McBreen for InfoWars. "Additionally, who would benefit the most from a dirty bomb going off in Russia?"
"The nation of Ukraine would likely see the full force of Russia's military in this situation, and the media have already established Russia will be blamed no matter what," she continued. "So, the stage is actually set for Ukraine to deploy the dirty bomb to be blamed on Russia."
WWIII.news has more on the possibility of nuclear attacks in Ukraine, either through nuclear warheads or dirty bombs.
Watch this clip from an RT newscast talking about how the labs in Pripyat, near the nuclear power plant, appear to be untouched and abandoned, contradicting Ukrainian claims.