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Trafficking of radiological materials

Dirty bombs, Glowing in the dark, The Economist 14 Dec 13 In the fight against trafficking in radiological materials, experts see some cause for cautious optimism

“………Nuclear and radiological materials slipped out of regulatory control 2,331 times between 1995 and the start of this year, according to the Incident and Trafficking Database compiled by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The materials are widely used in industry, agriculture and medicine. They are kept in many poorly guarded X-ray and cancer-treatment clinics. Such places are often not overseen with terrorism in mind. They have even been bought by crooks as front operations, says Rajiv Nayan, of India’s Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses. Raids on abandoned uranium mines in the Democratic Republic of Congo are more frequent, according to that country’s General Atomic-Energy Commission. The problem is most acute in the former Soviet Union: in Ukraine alone, roughly 2,500 organisations use radiological materials……..

Russia and other countries have greatly tightened control over radiological materials since thefts peaked in the early post- Soviet years. No highly enriched weapons-usable uranium or plutonium has been reported stolen since the 1990s, according to Ms Zaitseva. (The small amount intercepted since then appears to have been stolen earlier.) Losses of less hazardous low-enriched fissile material have fallen sharply. Employers are getting better at identifying potential risks, says Ray Landis of the Nuclear Energy Institute in Washington, DC. ……….

December 13, 2013 - Posted by | 2 WORLD, safety

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