Ukraine’s nuclear energy operator on Tuesday offered what it suggested were clues about what might be behind Russia’s claims that Kyiv’s forces are preparing a “provocation” involving a radioactive device — a so-called dirty bomb.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu made that claim to his British, French, Turkish and U.S. counterparts over the weekend. Britain, France, and the United States rejected it out of hand as “transparently false.”

Ukraine also dismissed Moscow’s claim as an attempt to distract attention from the Kremlin’s own alleged plans to detonate a dirty bomb, which uses explosives to scatter radioactive waste in an effort to sow terror.

Energoatom, the Ukrainian nuclear operator, said Russian forces have carried out secret construction work over the last week at the occupied Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine.

Russian officers occupying the area won’t let the Ukrainian staff running Europe's largest nuclear plant or monitors from the U.N.'s atomic energy watchdog see what they are doing, Energoatom said in a statement issued Tuesday.

Energoatom said it “assumes ... (the Russians) are preparing a terrorist act using nuclear materials and radioactive waste stored at (the plant).” It said there were 174 containers at the plant’s dry spent fuel storage facility, each of them containing 24 assemblies of spent nuclear fuel.

“Destruction of these containers as a result of explosion will lead to a radiation accident and radiation contamination of several hundred square kilometers (miles) of the adjacent territory,” the company said.

It called on the International Atomic Energy Agency to assess what was going on.

The White House on Monday again underscored that the Russian allegations were false.

#Ukraine nuclear agency thickens alleged #DirtyBomb plot. #UkraineInvasion

“It’s just not true. We know it’s not true,” John Kirby, a spokesman for the National Security Council, said. “In the past, the Russians have, on occasion, blamed others for things that they were planning to do.”

Dirty bombs don’t have the devastating destruction of a nuclear explosion but could expose broad areas to radioactive contamination.

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