UN nuke agency assessing Russian fears on Syria

VIENNA (AP) — The U.N.’s nuclear agency says it is following up on a Russian warning that a U.S. strike on Syria’s atomic facilities might result in a nuclear catastrophe.

The International Atomic Energy Agency announcement Friday follows a warning from Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich. He said that a strike on a miniature reactor near Damascus or other unspecified nuclear installations could contaminate the region with radioactivity, adding: “The consequences could be catastrophic.”

IAEA spokeswoman Gill Tudor says the agency is “considering the questions raised” on Russia’s request.

The reactor has only a limited amount of fissile nuclear material and experts believe radioactivity would not spread beyond a relatively small area even if it were directly targeted.

Moscow says it will bring up the issue at next week’s 35-nation IAEA board meeting.

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