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Illicit Strontium 90 Deal Busted in Armenia

Two Armenian citizens were detained following an attempted sale of radioactive strontium 90 in their home nation, Agence France-Presse reported on Saturday (see GSN, Nov. 10, 2010).

"Two residents of Yerevan, Armen Hunanyan and Alfred Bznuni, were arrested while trying to sell a radioactive substance, strontium 90," the Armenian National Security Service said in a prepared statement. It did not provide specifics on how much material was involved or to whom the suspects allegedly intended to sell the strontium.

Armenia in 2011 detained four nationals on suspicion of trying to sell strontium 90, AFP reported. The previous year the nation uncovered an effort to sneak highly enriched uranium into Georgia.

Strontium 90 is considered a potential ingredient for producing a "dirty bomb," which would use conventional explosives to disperse radioactive material. It is among the highly radioactive materials that "require particular attention for safety and security reasons," according to the International Atomic Energy Agency (Agence France-Presse/Calgary Herald, April 14).

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