Truck Carrying 25 tons of Radioactive Scrap Metal Detained at Chernobyl


On 11 September 2009, the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) detained a truck carrying 25 tons of radioactive scrap metal out of the Chernobyl exclusion zone. The load consisted primarily of armored car scrap parts from the abandoned city of  Pripyat and emitted radiation 13 times greater than the permissible level.[1]

Six people were detained, including the truck driver and owner, a man who was accompanying the truck in another car, two police officers that were on duty at the time, and two police battalion commanders.[1]  According to the SBU spokesperson, further investigation uncovered the involvement of the Deputy Chief of the SBU Kiev office, who allegedly organized a sting operation to “test” the police guarding the exclusion site. Reportedly, he telephoned the exclusion zone division commander, requesting that the truck be permitted to exit without inspection.[1]

According to the press service of the Kiev Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Deputy Chief of the SBU Kiev office was subsequently fired for conducting the operation without official approval. The four detained policemen were also fired.[2] All suspects are facing prosecution charges under Article 267 of Ukraine’s Criminal Code, "violation of radiation safety requirements."[1]

According to media reports, SBU was taking steps to strengthen control over transit points in the exclusion zone.[1,2] {Entered AE}

Abstract Number:  20090190
Headline:  Truck Carrying 25 tons of Radioactive Scrap Metal Detained at Chernobyl
Date:  11 September 2009
Bibliography:  "Ukrainskaya spetssluzhba predotvratila vyvoz radioaktivnogo metalloloma iz Chernobylskoy zony" ["Ukrainian Special Services Claim They Prevented Transportation of Radioactive Scrap Metal from the Chernobyl Zone"], ITAR-TASS, 16 September 2009, in Integrum Techno,
Material:  Scrap metal

[1] Andrey Tkach, "Kak SBU MVD 'na pushku' brala" ["How SBU Took an Aim at MIA"] Gazeta po-kiyevski, 17 September 2009, in Integrum Techno, <br>[2] "SBU utverzhdayet, chto predotvratila vyvoz 25 tonn radioaktivnogo loma iz Chernobylya" ["SBU Claims It Prevented 25 tons of Radioactive Scrap Metal from Being Taken out of Chernobyl"],, 16 September 2009.

September 11, 2009

This article is part of a collection examining reported incidents of nuclear or radioactive materials trafficking in or originating from the Newly Independent States.

This material is produced independently for NTI by the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of and has not been independently verified by NTI or its directors, officers, employees, or agents. Copyright 2018.