Unexploded “Smerch” rocket threatens Ukrainian nuclear facility


Combat operations continue in the area of the NSI “Neutron Source” facility. Upon examination of the facility in Kharkiv, personnel found what looks like an unexploded rocket of the multiple launch rocket system 9K58 “Smerch”. The presence of this ordnance poses danger of a new explosion in the immediate vicinity of the nuclear installation.

Work to disarm the rocket is impossible due to the ongoing hostilities in the area. As the examination of the circumstances was in its final stage, the site was shelled again.

Damage to  “the off-site power supply system, the air conditioning systems of the linear electron accelerator cluster gallery, and buildings (such as the nuclear installation building, pumping, and cooling towers buildings, isotope laboratories)” was sustained from bombing and shelling earlier in March and has not been repaired.

According to the State Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate of Ukraine (SNRIU) “…the NSI “Neutron Source”, as well as any other nuclear installation, is not designed for use in conditions of combat operations. Continuation of bombing can lead to severe radiation consequences and contamination of the surrounding territories.”

Launcher 9A52 of 300-mm multiple rocket launching system 9K58 “Smerch” in Saint-Petersburg Artillery museum
Photo credit: One half 3544, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

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