Russia nabs Iran-bound nuclear material

2011-12-16 17:00

Moscow - Russia on Friday seized a consignment of the radioactive isotope Sodium-22 at a Moscow airport from a passenger who was to travel on a flight to Tehran, the customs service said.

"Tests showed that the Sodium-22 could only have been obtained as the result of the work of a nuclear reactor," it said in a statement. "A criminal enquiry has been opened and the materials transferred to prosecutors."

Customs had been alerted by a warning system at Sheremetyevo airport ahead of the Moscow to Tehran flight that background radiation in the departures hall was 20 times the norm. A passenger's bag was then searched.

"Eighteen metallic objects of industrial origin were found, packed into individual steel boxes," it said.

"Tests then found that the objects were in fact the radioactive isotope Sodium-22 that had been machine-produced."

No further details were immediately available on the consignment or the identity of the passenger who was carrying the materials.

Russia has relatively close ties with Iran and has built its first nuclear power station in the southern city of Bushehr. Moscow has also delivered the nuclear fuel for the reactor.

Moscow has echoed Western concerns about the nature of the Iranian nuclear programme but has stopped short of publicly accusing Tehran of seeking atomic weapons and always said that the standoff should be solved by diplomacy.

Experts have long called for tight controls against nuclear smuggling so Iran cannot get hold of materials it is barred from obtaining under UN Security Council sanctions.

  • mundu.olewega - 2011-12-16 18:14

    This is scary, maybe now the Russians will get with the program and sanction Iran.

      Boer - 2012-01-08 22:41

      The Russians do not have to get to or with any program. They the Russians have the most Nuclear warheads. I dont think any country wants to f#ck with them. Check out News Magazine of 2011 in the US for statistics on Nuclear warheads per country worldwide.

  • Bruce - 2011-12-16 19:32

    This stinks of a set up! There are so many ways to smuggle illegal substances into a country! Come on!, no person in their right mind would take nuclear material through an international airport, let alone a Russian one, which are all equipped with radio-active sensors! this is only something America or NATO would do to further their own stinking agendas!

  • kaushikeya - 2011-12-16 20:39

    Fanatics shouldn't get their hands on nuke

  • toibry - 2011-12-16 20:47

    His words will bring everyone to awed attention.

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