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Serbia Lacks Funds, Space to Secure Nuclear Waste Materials

Serbia lacks both the financial resources and the facility space to adequately safeguard all of the its radioactive materials, the Serbian news site Politika reported last week.

Nuclear Facilities of Serbia does not have government funding to meet its mandate of overseeing atomic efforts in the nation. Additionally, two principal sites for holding radioactive waste, Hangers 1 and 2, are completely packed and cannot take in new material, according to NOS Executive Director Jadranka Djuricic.

Presently, industrial and medical sector radioactive waste is stored in "the generator facilities, but we do not know how long this situation can continue," Djuricic said. Her agency has not yet been given authorization to begin operating the recently constructed Hanger 3.

"NOS has handed over to the Agency for Protection Against Ionizing Radiation and Nuclear Security of Serbia all possible papers for a license for Hanger 3," the executive director said. "This is necessary, because even today there are no official notes pertaining to the storage of radioactive waste from the former Yugoslavia in Hanger 1."

Added Nuclear Facilities of Serbia management board Chairman Uranija Kozmidis-Luburic: "Worst of all is that we can come across all kinds of surprises in Hanger 1."

As there are not proper records of the kind and quantity of radioactive waste in the hangers, there is the chance they might hold substances such as cobalt 60 or cesium 137 --  radioactive isotopes that have many civilian uses but could also be used in a radiological "dirty bomb."

NTI Analysis