December 16, 2011
RUSSIA seized today a consignment of the radioactive isotope Sodium-22 at a Moscow airport from a passenger who was to travel on a flight to Tehran, the customs service said.
“Tests showed that the Sodium-22 could only have been obtained as the result of the work of a nuclear reactor,” it said in a statement. “A criminal inquiry has been opened and the materials transferred to prosecutors.”
Customs was alerted by a warning system at Sheremetyevo Airport ahead of the Moscow to Tehran flight that background radiation in the departures hall was 20 times the norm. A passenger’s bag was then searched.
“Eighteen metallic objects of industrial origin were found, packed into individual steel boxes,” it said. “Tests then found that the objects were in fact the radioactive isotope Sodium-22 that had been machine-produced.”