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Sometime during Russia’s invasion of Chernobyl in Ukraine, looters stole radioactive material from a radiation monitoring laboratory near the defunct nuclear power plant. There seems to be a low risk that this material would be used in so-called dirty bombs, an expert told Live Science. 

The looters took pieces of radioactive waste, which could theoretically be used to create a dirty bomb, a device that combines radioactive material with a conventional explosive, Anatolii Nosovskyi, director of the Institute for Safety Problems of Nuclear Power Plants (ISPNPP) in Kyiv, told Science. They also swiped radioactive isotopes — radioactive chemical elements with different numbers of neutrons in their nuclei — that are usually used to calibrate instruments in the monitoring lab, Nosovskyi said.

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