Radiation Source Containing Plutonium Seized in Dushanbe, Tajikistan
Tajikistani Drug Control Agency authorities arrested an Uzbekistani citizen in Dushanbe, Tajikistan and seized a capsule containing 3g of plutonium on 13 March 2004, ITAR-TASS reported on 15 March 2004. The agency transferred the suspect, a 50-year-old unemployed resident of Fergana, Uzbekistan, to the custody of the Tajikistani Ministry of Security.[1,2,3] On 15 March 2004, Drug Control Agency authorities arrested two Tajikistani citizens who are suspected to be involved in the case.[1,2] According to Tajik Television First Channel, the plutonium capsule was of Russian origin, and was intact and did not pose a health risk. According to Drug Control Agency spokesman Avaz Yuldoshev, the suspect intended to sell the plutonium to individuals in Afghanistan or Pakistan for $21,000. The Associated Press reported that the suspect was looking for Pakistani or Indian buyers. The Ministry of Security is investigating the incident, according to ITAR-TASS. A Tajik nuclear physicist told CNS on 29 March 2004 that the material involved was a "plutonium-berrylium neutron radiation source," which contains "a mix of plutonium isotopes."
Abstract Number: 20040100
Headline: Tajik Authorities Foil Attempt by Uzbekistani Citizen to Sell Plutonium
Date: 15 March 2004
Bibliography: Global News Wire - Asia Africa Intelligence Wire; in Lexis-Nexis Academic Universe, http://www.lexis-nexis.com/universe
Orig. Src.: ITAR-TASS
 "Plutonium Seized from Uzbek Citizen of Russian Origin," Tajik Television First Channel, 17 March 2004; in FBIS Document CEP20040318000031.
 "Three Men Arrested in Tajikistan for Attempting to Sell Plutonium," Associated Press Worldstream, 15 March 2004; in Lexis-Nexis Academic Universe, http://www.lexis-nexis.com/universe.
 "Uzbek Plutonium Smuggler Detained in Tajikistan," Interfax, 15 March 2004; in FBIS Document CEP20040315000012.
 "Man Held with Plutonium for Sale," Dawn Internet Edition, http://www.dawn.com, 16 March 2004.
 CNS correspondence with Tajik official, 29 March 2004.
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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