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

Gerry Blackwood gpblackwood at yahoo.com
Mon Jul 24 06:30:20 CDT 2006

 Again i agree... the Iranians have other sources that can be used to make a dirty bomb if they choose. However the Iranian Gov't is acting in a unusual manner lately. This story is not satire....stupidity maybe....satire no.... The story was picked up by several other news outlets..... I did confirm the vehicle was impounded.... My only two questions are, why would the Iranian MOD need to import density gauges when they have UK firms located in Tehran that have these gauges and why drive them 3000 miles? 

The route that the transporter was taking is full of pitfalls and I have to wonder if there was something else on board the truck. The Bulgarians have been through this several times before and this is unusual for them to react in this manner.... 

We have to remember this geo-region is full of illegal arms prolfieration...... Love to know the real stoy here.....

----- Original Message ----
From: Dimiter Popoff <didi at tgi-sci.com>
To: radsafe at radlab.nl
Sent: Monday, July 24, 2006 12:24:08 AM
Subject: [ RadSafe ] Re: Outcry as border guards seize British 'dirty bomb'

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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