Baku, May 4, AZERTAC
The Washington Times has published an article on Armenia's nuclear material headlined "The other nuclear threat".
Written by Alexander Murinson, a senior fellow at the Begin-Sadat Center and Bar Ilan University, the article says: "Mere days ago, Georgian authorities reported the arrest of an elderly Georgian man and several Armenian nationals — alarmingly suspected of being current or former members of the Armenian Security Service — who were attempting to smuggle and illegally sell some $200 million worth of nuclear-grade materials. The highly radioactive U-238 can be used to produce a myriad of deadly and destructive apparatuses, not the least of which is a dreaded "dirty bomb."
"The specter of a dirty bomb is of paramount concern for security services and counterterrorism officials worldwide. Internationally, the deep alarm of officials associated with the discovery of U-238 was compounded earlier this year when a group of individuals was discovered attempting to smuggle Cesium-137, a highly radioactive isotope that is a waste product from nuclear reactors,” Murinson says.
“This adds much credence to constant complaints by Georgia and Azerbaijan related to the fact that their territories under separatist control, such as Abkhazia, Nagorno-Karabakh and South Ossetia, are being used for all manner of illegal smuggling from nuclear material to arms to narcotics.”
“To substantially add to the threat emanating from Armenian nationals and Armenia is the presence in Armenia of an outdated Chernobyl-type nuclear reactor operating long past its original planned lifetime. This, when taken with the news from Georgia, elevates the nuclear alarm to a new level.”
“However, if Armenia's reactor is not only a safety threat, but potentially a source of radioactive material for a "dirty" bomb, as suggested by the recent foiled plots, then the problem is no longer limited to the Caucasus region,” he adds.
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