1.  Theft of radioactive substances rife in Tajikistan - paper
  new search   |   back to results   |   refine search  
Theft of radioactive substances rife in Tajikistan - paper
BBC Monitoring Service - United Kingdom; Apr 28, 2002

Radioactive substances in Tajikistan are subject to theft because they are "just lying around", the Tajik newspaper Asia-Plus reported on 18 April. A Tajik scientist, A. Jurayev, told the paper that to date at least seven quite powerful radioisotope sources had been stolen from enterprises. People steal them out of their "old Soviet habit", but "terrorists" are the only customers for radioactive substances, Jurayev said. The following is an excerpt from the article, "Radiation in the centre of Dushanbe" by report by Olga Tutbalina:

Tajikistan has no nuclear weapons and nuclear power stations. It would seem that the problem of the loss of radioactive materials and radiation sources is no urgent issue for our country at all. But specialists uphold the opposite view.

[Scientist] A. Jurayev says that, since 1991, the control over the safety of radioisotope sources (RIS) has been lost in the country. Evidence of this is the loss of several caesium-137 RIS at the Yovon chemical plant [in southern Khatlon Region] and an incident with a fatal outcome at the Tajik Aluminium Plant.

According to the scientist [Jurayev], to date at least seven quite powerful RIS lethal to human beings have been stolen from the country's enterprises.

[Passage omitted: Jurayev says sometimes people try to sell special purpose devices and radioisotopes; someone managed to dismantle the protective capsule of three radioisotope thermo-electric generators, which were stored by the Tajik meteorological station in Dushanbe]

There have been many cases of the theft and "acquisition" of radioactive substances throughout the country as a whole. I do not think it is worth recalling all of them. I will say only that officers of the law-enforcement agencies have in the past detained "pedlars" of uranium, plutonium, osmium and red mercury.

Why do people steal radioactive substances? The answer is simple: they steal it out of the old Soviet habit, because these substances are "just lying around".

Jurayev says this [stealing] is senseless, because there are no "consumers" of radioactive substances other than terrorists, nor can there be. This product cannot be used in any other way.

It was revealed recently that the illegal circulation of RIS is not the only "radiation" problem for Tajikistan. According to the director of the Institute of Nuclear Physics of Uzbekistan's Academy of Sciences, B. Yuldoshev (he is currently the president of the Academy of Sciences), following the latest nuclear weapon test in Pakistan, the radiation background increased several times at the institute compound (Ulughbek district [on outskirts of Tashkent], Uzbekistan). Consequently, this background was even higher on the Tajik-Afghan and Tajik-Chinese border.

If our population was irradiated at that time, one should expect an increase in the number of diseases related to the thyroid gland, lungs and stomach among Tajikistan's people.

Source: Asia-Plus, Dushanbe, in Russian 18 Apr 02

/ BBC Monitoring

/BBC Monitoring/ BBC.

All Material Subject to Copyright

Need more business information? Ask our research team - click here

email this EMAIL THIS print this PRINT THIS most popular MOST POPULAR