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Cesium-137 Seized in Crimea, Ukraine

Abstract:

On 22 January 2005, Ukrainian police seized six metal containers filled with Cesium-137 in the village of Ishun, Krasnoperekopskyi district, Crimea, Ukraine, the Podrobnosti (Ukraine) news agency reported on 24 January 2005, citing UNIAN. The containers, discovered as a result of a search for illegal drugs, were found between a house wall and a stack of hay, and their markings stated their type, BGE 75-Ts; their year of production, 1982; their weight, 83 kg (approximately 184 lbs); and a serial number. According to Krymskaya pravda (Simferopol), each container could hold up to 30g of Cesium-137. The radiation level of the containers exceeded the normal background by 380 times; this prompted authorities to evacuate the residents of the house and their neighbors.[1] However, the Ukrainian Ministry of Emergency Situations noted that the incident posed no threat to public health or the environment.[2] The regional Ministry of Internal Affairs office said that the owner of the house had received the containers for storage from an employee of the Joint Stock Company Brom, a locksmith, a resident of Krasnoperekopsk. This locksmith was detained, [the report does not specify the date] and admitted that in 2000, he had accepted payment to store the containers from another Perekopsk resident. This supplier died in 2003. Podrobnosti (Ukraine) speculated that this supplier could have died from radiation exposure. Other reports state that the owner received the containers from a relative in September 2004, who planned to resell them.[1] In the fall of 2004, some suspects [the report does not specify who exactly, but one of them is allegedly a Joint Stock Company Brom employee] attempted to bring one of the containers to Kiev for sale. However, the culprits were detained in Kherson Oblast; and Ministry of Internal Affairs branch in Kherson Oblast opened an investigation into the incident. Subsequently two more radioactive containers were discovered in Perekopsk in the garage of the individual who passed away in 2003. Krasnoperekopsk branch of the  Ministry of Internal Affairs has launched an investigation into the case in accordance with Article 265 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (Illegal Handling of Radioactive Materials). The cases in Crimea and Kherson may be combined into a single investigation.

Abstract Number:  20050010
Headline:  V Krasnoperekopskom rayone Kryma v odnom iz chastnykh domovladeniy obnaruzheny konteinery s tseziem [Containers of Cesium Discovered in a House in Krasnoperekopsk District, Crimea]
Date:  24 January 2005
Bibliography:  Integrum Techno, http://www.integrum.ru
Orig. Src.:   Podrobnosti (Ukraina), 24 January 2005
Material:  Cesium-137

Sources:

[1] "Tsezievaya 'zanachka' sluchayno obnaruzhena sotrudnikami militsii v odnom iz chastnykh domovladeniy" [Cesium Discovered by Chance during Policy Search], Krymskaya pravda (Simferopol), 26 January, 2004; Integrum Techno database, http://integrum.ru.
[2] "V Krymu naydeny 83-kilogramovyye radioaktivnyye konteynery" [83-Kilogram Radioactive Containers Discovered in the Crimea], Lenta.ru, 23 January 2005; Integrum Techno database, http://integrum.ru.
 

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This material is produced independently for NTI by the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Monterey Institute of International Studies and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of and has not been independently verified by NTI or its directors, officers, employees, or agents.

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This article is part of a collection examining reported incidents of nuclear or radioactive materials trafficking in or originating from the Newly Independent States.