Kazakhstani Police Seize Plutonium-239 Source
Agents from the Kazakhstani National Security Committee (KNB) arrested two Kazakhs and one Russian for attempting to sell the radioactive isotope plutonium-239, Ekspress-K reported on 31 July 2003. The arrests were the result of a surveillance operation. The three suspects, two residents of Pavlodar, Kazakhstan and one native of Saratov Oblast in Russia, were arrested while making the transaction at a local train station in Pavlodar. The two Kazakhs were reportedly selling the plutonium to the Russian. Police seized $20,000 in cash and an ampoule which a subsequent analysis showed to contain Pu-239. A KNB spokesman later said that the isotope of plutonium seized is used in smoke detectors and "in no way can be used in the production of weapons of mass destruction." Charges have been filed against the three suspects.
[On 2 March 2004 the suspects received two-year suspended sentences. See abstract 20040080 for details.]
Abstract Number: 20030510
Headline: Radioaktivnyy rynok [Radioactive market]
Date: 31 July 2003
Bibliography: Ekspress K; Integrum Techno database, http://afnet.integrum.ru
Author: Asel Tulegenova
 "Spetssluzhby Kazakhstana pri popytke prodazhi izotopa plutoniya-239 zaderzhali 3 chelovek, v tom chisle grazhdanina Rossii" [Kazakhstan's special services arrest three men, including one Russian, during attempted sale of isotope plutonium 239]
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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