Intentional accident at nuclear plants can be more dangerous than use of tactical nuclear weapons, expert

An intentional accident at nuclear plants can be more dangerous than the use of tactical weapons, retired colonel doctor Ion Apostol, , ex-director of the National Agency for Regulation of Nuclear and Radiological Activities and international expert in nuclear and radiological emergencies of the International Atomic Energy Agency, stated in a debate staged by IPN.

“Russia is one of these states and it has a nuclear industry and technology, from the extraction of uranium ore up to the obtaining of energy. So, Russia manages the whole nuclear cycle and has extraordinarily great capacities,” said Ion Apostol.

He noted that the starting of a nuclear war is rather a propaganda slogan as the nuclear war is a war between two countries that possess nuclear weapons.

“Ukraine does not have nuclear weapons, while Russia’s strategy concerning the use of nuclear weapons didn’t envision the use of a nuclear weapon against a state that does not possess such weapons. Under the strategy, the nuclear weapon will be used only when its integrity and independence are in danger. I do not see Ukraine aiming to occupy a part of Russia’s territory and I do not see Ukraine possessing nuclear weapons,” noted Ion Apostol.

The expert reminded that Ukraine had nuclear warheads in the time of the Soviet Union, but transferred these to Russia, as other former Soviet states did, like Belarus and Kazakhstan. Ukraine was assured that it would be protected from nuclear weapons.

Ion Apostol considers that no one is now interested in an eventual division of Russia into a number of states as it would be harder to control the nuclear weapons held now by Russia. Russia possesses enough weapons to achieve its goals.

Asked how the Republic of Moldova should react in case of a nuclear attack, the expert said Moldova is not a party to the conflict and cannot become engaged in a war as a neural state.

“If a nuclear weapon is used now on the territory of Ukraine, we already have the experience of Chernobyl. The protection measures for us, as a neighboring country, are similar. Regrettably, we already experienced such accidents. We are now preoccupied with an eventual accident at plants situated close to use. If the environmental conditions affect the Republic of Moldova, we have plans to respond to such accidents. First of all, there is the civil protection plan of the Republic of Moldova, which stipulates the measures of response to such accidents or incidents. We also have territorial and district plans and plans of large enterprises and medical institutions, which stipulate the response measures. For the population, there will be used collective protection measures, such as shelters, iodine prophylaxis and other measure. In apartments, we should have food products for two-three days. In cellars, we should have food and water supplies,” stated Ion Apostol.

The expert noted that larger countries have also population relocation measures to protect the people. The Republic of Moldova is too small to plan such measures. However, if tactical nuclear weapons are used close to its border, the population from this region can be evacuated.

“Our country has a population warning system in case of an emergency. There is a network for monitoring the pollution of the environment with nuclear, radiological, chemical and biological agents. Civil protection has particular reserves and implies the involvement of nonmilitary units in rescue operations,” said Ion Apostol, noting the state and the population should be ready to react to any situation without panic and reasonably.

The debate entitled “Is Ukraine’s victory possible without the nuclear disarmament of Russia? Did mankind reach the point for general nuclear disarmament?” was the third installment of the series “Impact of the Past on Confidence and Peace Building Processes” that is supported by the Hanns Seidel Foundation of Germany.

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