Europe Moves to Halt Radioactive Scrap Metal Imports
According to this report, smuggling of radioactive materials and contaminated scrap metal originating in the former East Bloc countries has increased dramatically since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Noting the increasing number of incidents involving radioactive scrap metal from decommissioned nuclear power plants, monitoring equipment, and waste containers, the IAEA has urged European countries to improve radiation monitoring at their borders. A British merchant recently discovered a piece of a highly radioactive reactor vessel from a Russian nuclear power plant in a shipment of scrap steel. The real concern, according to an Interpol source, is that 'scrap does not stay scrap. It gets turned into something.' He cited the example of using scrap metal to build garden furniture. According to IAEA spokesman Klaus Duftschmid, in the early 1990s the United States unknowingly imported contaminated metal from Mexico and used it to manufacture chairs for a restaurant. Another problem stemming from the break up of the Soviet Union is the disappearance data detailing the locations of radioactive sources used for scientific, industrial, and medical purposes. Ukraine has asserted that 100,000 radioactive sources are unaccounted for, added Duftschmid.
Abstract Number: 19980535
Headline: Europe Moves to Halt Radioactive Scrap Metal Imports
Date: 27 August 1998
Bibliography: Reuters, 27 August 1998
Author: Europe Moves to Halt Radioactive Scrap Metal Imports
Orig. Src.: Camilla Reed
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. Copyright © 2011 by MIIS.
This article is part of a collection examining reported incidents of nuclear or radioactive materials trafficking in or originating from the Newly Independent States.
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