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Expert: Brussels terrorists probably searched for access to radioactive isotopes

March 28, 17:31 UTC+3 BRUSSELS
The terrorists showed interest in the Belgian nuclear facilities most probably for the purpose of for creating a dirty bomb, an expert in nuclear security says
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Nuclear power plant in Tihange, Belgium

Nuclear power plant in Tihange, Belgium

© AP Photo/Yves Logghe, File

BRUSSELS, March 28. /TASS/. The Brussels terrorists were most probably searching for access to radioactive isotopes for dirty bomb production rather than planning a terrorist act at a nuclear power plant, a European expert in nuclear security told TASS on condition of confidentiality on Monday.

"The terrorist group that committed the terrorist acts in Paris and Brussels showed interest in the Belgian nuclear facilities most probably for the purpose of gaining access to highly radioactive isotopes for creating a radiological explosive device, the so-called dirty bomb, rather than exploding a nuclear power plant," the expert said.

All these assumptions are based on the analysis of ‘the available open information," the expert said.

In the expert’s opinion, "the spying on the head of the Belgian nuclear research program organized by the members of the terrorist group and some other facts evidence precisely this version."

The Belgian media earlier suggested the version that the terrorists had been preparing explosions at the country’s nuclear power plants.

"Nuclear power plants have a high safety margin and an external terrorist attack on an NPP with the use of actually any amount of home-made explosives that were used during the terrorist acts in Brussels and Paris won’t cause any serious damage to the NPP," the expert said.

"At the same time, the use of the same explosives that were employed in Paris and Brussels for spraying highly radioactive isotopes, especially with long periods of the half-life, can cause disastrous and, what is the main thing, long-term damage related to radioactive contamination of a large territory in big cities," the expert said.

The Belgian news agency Belga reported on March 26 that agent of the international security company G4S Didier Prospero who worked as a patrol guard in the external protection service of the Nuclear Research Center in the Fleurus community, Belgium’s third basic nuclear facility after the Doel and Tihange NPPs, had been shot dead in the evening of March 24 from automatic rifles in the bathroom of his house in Froidchapelle on the outskirts of Charleroi.

According to information of the newspaper Derniere Heure, the dead security guard’s pass was stolen. However, in reply to a TASS inquiry, the Charleroi prosecutor’s office said that "the terrorist trace in that case is not considered" and refused to give any additional comments until the probe was over.

In the morning of March 24, about 10-12 hours before the killing in Charleroi, the TV channel RTBF reported that the authorities had seized passes from 11 employees of the Tihange NPP.

Derniere Heure reported earlier that the Brussels suicide bombers, the Bakraui brothers who had detonated the bombs in Brussels airport and the metro had set up a hidden camera in front of the house where the head of the Belgian nuclear program lived. Also, the police found during an anti-terror operation their video recordings several dozen hours long showing the approaches to the house and the routes of movement of that person, the newspaper said.

‘Today’s data of the investigation evidence that precisely the Bakraui brothers made the video records," Dernier Heure reported.

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