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TA-THREATS: Ukraine Police Stop Black Market Sale of Cesium-137

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posted on May, 6 2004 @ 04:48 PM
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Ukrainian police seized almost 375 pounds of cesium-137, a highly radioactive material, which individuals had been trying to sell. Cesium-137 (CS-137) is a good candidate for producing a “dirty bomb”, which could be made by packing radioactive material around common explosives. Police say that individuals where attempting to sell two containers of CS-137 for $60,000.00 per container.
 

Fox News
In a joint action, Ukraine's police and state security agents seized two containers of cesium-137 (search) and arrested three men from the southern city of Simferopol on the Crimean peninsula, police spokesman Yuriy Kondratyev told The Associated Press. An unspecified number of people also were detained throughout Ukraine.
Cesium-137, a highly radioactive material, is used in soil-testing gauges in construction and is found in photoelectric batteries and vacuum valves. It explodes if it comes into contact with water, and exposure to it can cause blood diseases, sterility and birth defects.


The U.N.'s International Atomic Energy Agency has previously warned that former Soviet block countries are market places for the trade of illegal radioactive products. This is the second such recent arrest in Ukraine. Earlier this year, a man was arrested for trying to smuggle uranium into Hungary from the Ukraine.

CS-137 is produced by nuclear fission, and is normally used in medical devices and detection gauges. CS-137 is usually found in a white powder form, which would make it especially easy to disperse with another explosive. The radiation level from this material is so high, that it actually glows in the dark. Exposure to large amounts of CS-137 can cause burns, radiation sickness, and increase the chance of developing cancer.

Additional Sources
Radioisotope Brief: Cesium-137




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