Radioactive Crucifix Found on Warsaw-Moscow Train
On 16 June 1997, Terespol Border Guards halted a rail car en route to Warsaw from Moscow that emitted an 'unprecedented' level of radiation as it passed through a radiometric gate. Miroslaw Szacillo, spokesman for the Main Command of the Polish Border Guards, reported that the source of the unusually high level of radiation, registered at 40 milligrays per hour, was a one meter- long metal crucifix hidden in the ceiling of the rail car. In addition to the crucifix, guards discovered several icons from Moscow. Szacillo said that the contaminated rail car will be sealed off and returned to the depot. The smuggled objects will undergo further tests.
According to experts from the central radiological protection laboratory, the 40 milligrays per hour that the railcar emitted is less 'than a man is allowed to absorb over a year.' Nevertheless, experts said that the exact effects of exposure to such a level of radiation are impossible to determine, for they are also dependent upon factors such as duration of exposure, distance from the radiation source, and the resistance capabilities of individual human organisms.
Abstract Number: 19970411
Headline: Radioactive Crucifix Found On Warsaw-Moscow Train
Date: 16 June 1997
Orig. Src.: TV Polonia Network, 16 June 1997
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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