NATO specialists recently advised Ukraine on the safety of its atomic reactors, amid concerns about spreading instability in the country, Reuters reported.
A team of alliance civilian experts traveled to the country in April at Kiev's request to provide recommendations on options for enhancing protections around key infrastructure sites such as nuclear plants and gas pipelines, the news service reported on Wednesday.
Some independent analysts have voiced concern about the potential for a nuclear plant meltdown occurring if the electricity that powers reactors' cooling systems is cut off or plant personnel flee their posts due to nearby fighting in the country.
"In any country, in any situation, there are plans and additional measures to protect infrastructure objects," Ukrainian Ambassador to NATO Ihor Dolhov said in an interview. "So the purpose was to evaluate the performance of measures which are being implemented in Ukraine to protect such objects."
Fears of "possible destabilization" in areas where key energy sites are located prompted Kiev to seek the expert advice, the diplomat acknowledged.
There are 15 active atomic energy plants in Ukraine, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency.
Over half of Russia's nuclear base was constructed in Ukraine or relies on navigation technology produced by Ukraine, said Serhiy Zgurets, a Ukraine defense industry expert.
Were arms shipments and contracts to service Russian long-range missiles halted, there would be very real impacts for some Russian weapon systems, suggested Siemon Wezeman, a senior researcher for the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.
This article was published in Global Security Newswire, which is produced independently by National Journal Group under contract with the Nuclear Threat Initiative. NTI is a nonprofit, nonpartisan group working to reduce global threats from nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons.