Loading...

loading

CAB044 / Russia / ALLEGED NUCLEAR SMUGGLING INCIDENT AT THE RUSSIA-KAZAKHSTAN BORDER

ALLEGED NUCLEAR SMUGGLING INCIDENT AT THE RUSSIA-KAZAKHSTAN BORDER
REF: TELEPHONE CONVERSATION BETWEEN FSN AND RUSSIAN CUSTOMS OFFICER RELAYED TO EXBS ADVISOR

¶1.(C) SUMMARY: Post wishes to alert the Department and Washington agencies per reftel that it has received a report indicating a potential incident of illicit trafficking in nuclear and/or radiological materials. This report came to post’s attention via a telephone conversation between REDACTED REDACTED and the Export Controls and Related Border Security (EXBS) FSN, which was relayed to the EXBS Advisor. Post cautions that details of the alleged incident are vague. END SUMMARY.

—————————————————————-
LOCATION AND DESCRIPTION OF MATERIAL ALARM AND DETECTION DETAILS
—————————————————————-

¶2. (C) EXBS FSN received a telephone call from REDACTED REDACTED on the Russia-Kazakhstan border. REDACTED REDACTED REDACTED REDACTED REDACTED. The telephone call was part of a larger conversation between the EXBS FSN and the officer that occurred on August 24th. The information was not relayed to the Advisor immediately after it occurred, but some time later.

¶3. (C) The informant told the FSN that during July, Russian customs officers reported two incidents in which unshielded cobalt-60 was detected in railroad passenger cars traveling from Kazakhstan headed for Russia. A large though unspecific number of people were exposed to the cobalt-60 which, while highly radioactive, was not weapons grade. A reportedly one-half to one kilo of the material was seized, although it is not clear whether that was the estimated amount per seizure, or the total amount seized during the two incidents. The radioactive materials were discovered at the Russian border with Kazakhstan, when the radiation portal monitors were set off.

——-
COMMENT
——-

¶4. (C) It is assumed that there was an investigation, but it is not known if there were any arrests or detentions. (Note: Russian Customs officials do not have arrest authority; the matters would have been referred to either FSB or MVD. End Note) It is not known who sent the materials out or what their intent was. Post will attempt to verify the information through multiple liaison channels but at this point cannot vouch for its veracity. END COMMENT.

Comments are closed.