radioactive substances rife in Tajikistan - paper
BBC Monitoring Service - United Kingdom; Apr 28,
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
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
Source: Asia-Plus, Dushanbe, in Russian 18 Apr 02
/ BBC Monitoring
/BBC Monitoring/ BBC.
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