Smugglers of radioactive isotope busted – FSB

Lazy eyes listen


The Russian Security Service (FSB) has reported the arrest of a gang of would-be Cesium-137 smugglers. It said that if the operation had been successful, the dangerous material would have been used to provoke Russia in the combat zone in Ukraine.

Five people were apprehended by FSB operatives with the assistance of Interior Ministry personnel, according to the statement. According to the statement, the gang was acting “with coordination by a Ukrainian citizen” and was willing to pay $3.5 million for one kilogram of the goods.

The scene of the alleged exchange was captured on video by the service. The buyers were given a large container that took four men to handle and place inside a car trunk. Officers were then called in to conduct arrests. The faces of individuals participating were blurred in parts of the footage.

The foreign entity seeking Cesium-137 in Russia intended to use it “to conduct an information-propaganda campaign to discredit the country internationally by staging scenes of weapons of mass destruction,” according to the statement.

Cesium-137 can only be created in nuclear fission reactions, such as reactors and nuclear explosions. Scientists exploit its anthropogenic origin, as well as its capacity to quickly move across great distances, to precisely date pre-atomic-era artefacts by looking for residues of the element and products of its radioactive decay. It is also employed in radiotherapy and the calibration of gamma radiation sensors.

The isotope has a relatively long half-life of 30 years and its salts are easily soluble in water, making it a significant source of contamination.