Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Radioactive Material Bound for Iran Is Seized in Moscow

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Radioactive Material Bound for Iran Is Seized in Moscow

Article excerpt

Byline: Nicholas Cecil Deputy Political Editor

RADIOACTIVE material has been discovered in an Iranian passenger's luggage at a Moscow airport, Russia's customs agency said today.

The individual was boarding a Tehran-bound flight when customs officials found 18 pieces of metal at Sheremetyevo airport after a radiation alert went off.

Gauges showed that radiation levels were 20 times higher than normal.

The customs agency said the pieces contained Sodium-22, a radioactive isotope of sodium that is produced in a particle accelerator, rather than a nuclear reactor. Sodium-22 has medical uses, including in nuclear medicine imaging.

Customs spokeswoman Kseniya Grebenkina said that the luggage had been seized some time ago, but would not specify when. The Iranian was not detained, she added, but prosecutors are investigating. Sergei Novikov, spokesman for the Russian state atomic agency Rosatom, said that the pieces are highly unlikely to have come from its facilities. In Russia, universities, research institutes and big medical centres can have the technology to produce it, he said. …

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