[ RadSafe ] Re: Outcry as border guards seize British 'dirty bomb'

Dimiter Popoff didi at tgi-sci.com
Sun Jul 23 23:24:08 CDT 2006

Stewart, Steven,

I have only read the article Gerry Blackwwod posted and not
looked in the local Bulgarian sources for confirmation.
However, I expect this is exactly how this was reported....
Practically every touch with the administrative reality 
(and many other things, btw) in this country leaves you with
the feeling for grotesqueness; you may endup feeling like
Alice in Wonderland if you dig a bit deeper trying to
do and/or understand things. 


Dimiter Popoff               Transgalactic Instruments


>  Date: Sun, 23 Jul 2006 22:28:24 -0400
>  From: Stewart Farber <farbersa at optonline.net>
>  Subject: Re: [ RadSafe ] Outcry as border guards seize British 'dirty bomb'
>  To: Steven Dapra <sjd at swcp.com>, radsafe at radlab.nl
>   Re: this article being a satire, I'm reminded of the old
>  phrase to "carry coals fo Newcastle" which is to do something
>  that is obviously superfluous [since Newcastle in England
>  was a coal mining center].  If Iran needs some nuclear material
>  for a dirty bomb or other illicit purpose, it certainly
>  does not need a bunch of density gauges as a source. Rather
>  droll.  
>  Stewart Farber
>  ======================
>  ----- Original Message ----- 
>  From: "Steven Dapra" <sjd at swcp.com>
>  To: <radsafe at radlab.nl>
>  Sent: Sunday, July 23, 2006 9:44 PM
>  Subject: [ RadSafe ] Outcry as border guards seize British 'dirty bomb'
>  > July 23
>  > 
>  >         Are you certain this article is not some type of bizarre satire?
>  > 
>  > Steven Dapra
>  > sjd at swcp.com
>  > 
>  > 
>  > 
>  > At 12:20 PM 7/23/06 -0700, you wrote:
>  >>What I find interesting is where these gauges were heading for and the 
>  >>route they were taking.... Nothing like driving from Kent to 
>  >>Tehran........Though the Iranians have better access to isotopes than what 
>  >>was in these gauges if they wanted to build a dirty bomb...
>  >>
>  >>
>  >>http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/news.html?in_
>  >>article_id=397124&in_page_id=1770&in_page_id=1770&expand=true#StartComments
>  >>
>  >>
>  >>Outcry as border guards seize British 'dirty bomb' lorry heading for Iran
>  >>By JASON LEWIS, The Mail on Sunday
>  >>                Border guards seized a British lorry on its way to make a 
>  >> delivery to the Iranian military - after discovering it was packed with 
>  >> radioactive material that could be used to build a dirty bomb.
>  >>  The lorry set off from Kent on its way to Tehran but was stopped by 
>  >> officials at a checkpoint on Bulgaria's northernborder with Romania after 
>  >> a scanner indicated radiation levels 200 times above normal.
>  >>  The lorry was impounded and the Bulgarian Nuclear Regulatory Agency 
>  >> (NPA) was called out.
>  >>  On board they found ten lead-lined boxes addressed to the Iranian 
>  >> Ministry of Defence. Inside each box was a soil-testing device, 
>  >> containing highly dangerous quantities of radioactive caesium 137 and 
>  >> americium-beryllium.
>  >>  The soil testers had been sent to Iran by a British firm with the 
>  >> apparent export approval of the Department of Trade and Industry.
>  >>  Last night, the head of the Bulgarian NRA, Nikolai Todorov, said he was 
>  >> shocked that devices containing so much nuclear material could be sold so 
>  >> easily.
>  >>  He said: "The devices are highly radioactive - if you had another 90 of 
>  >> them you would be able to make an effective dirty bomb."
>  >>  And a spokesman for the Bulgarian customs office, said: "The 
>  >> documentation listed the shipment as destined for the Ministry of 
>  >> Transport in Tehran, although the final delivery address was the Iranian 
>  >> Ministry of Defence.
>  >>  "According to the documentation they are hand-held soil-testing devices 
>  >> which were sent from a firm in the United Kingdom."
>  >>  A leading British expert last night said the radioactive material could 
>  >> easily be removed and used to construct a dirty bomb.
>  >>  Dr Frank Barnaby from the Oxford Research Group, said: "You would need a 
>  >> few of these devices to harvest sufficient material for a dirty bomb. 
>  >> Americium-beryllium is an extremely effective element for the 
>  >> construction of a dirty bomb as it has a very long half-life, but I would 
>  >> be amazed to find it out on the street.
>  >>  "I don't know how you would come by it as it is mainly found in spent 
>  >> reactor-fuel elements and is not at all easy to get hold of. I find it 
>  >> very hard to believe it is so easily available in this device."
>  >>  Senior Labour MP Andrew MacKinlay called for the Government to tighten 
>  >> up export controls to prevent the Iranian military getting its hands on 
>  >> nuclear material.
>  >>  He said: "The Prime Minister has accused the Iranian Government of 
>  >> sponsoring international terrorism, yet his officials are doing nothing 
>  >> to prevent radioactive material which has an obvious dual use being sold 
>  >> to their military."
>  >>  Little control
>  >>  The discovery will add to fears about the lack of control over the sale 
>  >> of nuclear material to so-called 'rogue states' which the Government 
>  >> claims sponsor international terrorism, particularly as it comes at a 
>  >> time when Iran is ignoring international calls to halt its nuclear programme.
>  >>  The case has echoes of the arms-to-Iraq affair during which the DTI 
>  >> approved exports of apparently innocent civilian equipment to Saddam 
>  >> Hussein that was then used to build weapons.
>  >>  Mr MacKinlay added: "Our export controls are a mess.
>  >>  "The Iranians are resourceful and sophisticated and, just as we saw with 
>  >> Saddam Hussein in the past, this is just the sort of method they would 
>  >> use to get their hands on the equipment they need for their supposedly 
>  >> banned weapons programmes."
>  >>  Andrew Maclean, a director of Kent-based Orient Transport Services, 
>  >> which was paid by another unnamed British firm to transport the 
>  >> radioactive devices to Iran, said the shipment was perfectly legal.
>  >>  He said: "We had a letter from the DTI confirming that no export licence 
>  >> was needed to send these items to the Iranians.
>  >>  "We also alerted customs officials about the goods we were transporting 
>  >> before they left the UK and the truck carried all the appropriate warning 
>  >> symbols to alert officials and the emergency services of what it was 
>  >> carrying."
>  >>  Last night a DTI spokesman confirmed: "Exporters do not need a licence 
>  >> to transport this sort of material to Iran. It is not covered by our 
>  >> export controls."
>  >>  In August last year there was a similar incident when a Turkish truck 
>  >> carrying a ton of zirconium silicate supplied by a British firm was 
>  >> stopped by Bulgarian customs at the Turkish border on its way to Tehran, 
>  >> after travelling from Britain, through Germany and Romania, without being 
>  >> stopped.
>  >>  Zirconium is used in nuclear reactors to stop fuel rods corroding and 
>  >> can also be used as part of a nuclear warhead. The metal can be extracted 
>  >> from zirconium silicate and its trade is usually tightly controlled.
>  > 

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