Alarming trail of Armenia's nuclear ambitions - report

Alarming trail of Armenia's nuclear ambitions - report

Baku, Azerbaijan, May 10

By Aygun Badalova - Trend:

Illicit nuclear activities of Armenia have been a subject of concern of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), as well as other organizations, which presented some cases of trafficking of nuclear and other radioactive materials by Armenia in their reports.

In particular, the following examples of Armenia's illicit nuclear activities are presented in Annual statistics reports of the IAEA Incident and Trafficking Database (IDTB), Database on Nuclear Smuggling, Theft, and Orphan Radiation Sources (DSTO), reports by NTI, SIPRI, and other open media sources.

1999, May 22 - Berehovo town, Ukraine: Two Armenians trying to sell 20 kg of Low-Enriched Uranium (LEU) U-235 ore and a buyer were arrested by Ukrainian law enforcement officials in the town of Berehovo - The Armenians demanded $35,000 per kg for the Uranium. They received heavy radiation doses because they had handled the material with their bare hands and carried it in rubber bags. According to one source, the material was enriched Uranium in white powder form stolen from a radioactive-materials recycling facility in Krasnoyarsk. Other sources said it was LEU metal suitable for making fuel for RBMK reactors.

2001, December 19 - Samtskhe-Javakheti region, Georgia: 300 g of LEU were intercepted in an intelligence operation. The origin of the material was Armenia.

2003, June 26 - Armenia-Georgia border (Sadakhlo-Bagratashen checkpoint): Smuggling case 170 grams of Highly Enriched Uranium (HEU) U-235 (~90%). Detected by the Georgian border guards. An Armenian "war hero" named Garik Dadayan was busted when he walked through a nuclear sensor on the Georgia-Armenia border with 170 grams of unsheathed HEU in a tea box in two batches: 70 grams and 100 grams; and in two different forms: UO2 and U3O8. Reportedly, HEU was obtained from the Novosibirsk nuclear fuel fabrication facility, Russia. HEU sample was provided to Russia; remaining HEU was transferred to the USA. Dadayan was handed over to the Armenian government, tried, and sentenced in 2004 just to 2,5 years in prison.

2003, December 29 - Megri checkpoint on the Armenian-Iranian border, Armenia: Armenian customs officials discovered a radiation source in a scrap metal shipment bound for Iran. It was reported that scrap metal was outbound from the Armenian Metsamor Nuclear Power Plant (NPP). Radioactive object discovered at the Armenian-Iranian border was an empty casing from a radioactive source, which previously contained strontium-90 (The presence of the casing for a radioactive source without the radioactive source itself would appear to imply that the source now rests at an unknown location without the protective barriers necessary to avoid injury to the public). Spectral analysis showed that the object has a high radioactivity level.

2004, March 13 - Armenia-Georgia border (Sadakhlo-Bagratashen checkpoint): Armenian citizen with radioactive material detained. The report did not identify the radioactive material.

2007, October 24 - Georgia-Turkey border (Sarpi checkpoint): Georgian police officers and operatives from the Special Operations Center of the Main Directorate of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia for the Autonomous Republic of Adjara arrested 4 Armenian citizen for attempting to smuggle 2.04g of Lawrencium-103 in a specifically designed gold container.

2009 August 26-28 - Armenia-Georgia border (Sadakhlo-Bagratashen checkpoint): The vehicle belonged to a resident of Noratus village of Gegharkunik region, Armenia, carrying three Armenian citizens entered Georgia from Armenia at the Sadakhlo border crossing. The car set off a gamma alarm on the radiation detection portal monitor. The driver provided a cursory explanation for the alarm, and the patrol police did not detain the group. On August 27, the same car returned to Armenia through the Sadakhlo crossing, and again set off a gamma alarm. At this point, the patrol police stopped and searched the vehicle. Georgian officials determined that the car was contaminated with Cesium-137. However, because the search did not produce any radioactive material, the occupants were released and returned to Armenia.

2010 March - Tbilisi, Georgia: Two Armenian, Businessman Smbat Tonoyan and Physicist of the Yerevan Institute of Physics Hrant Ohanyan were arrested by Georgian authorities in the hotel room, with 18 grams of 89% HEU brought from Armenia into Georgian territory. Two had concealed the material in a lead lined Marlboro cigarette package before boarding a train from Yerevan to Tbilisi. During the trial in Tbilisi, it was revealed that Tonoyan had demanded $8 million from a prospective buyer for 120 grams of the enriched uranium, but later dropped the asking price to $1.5 million. 18 grams would be shown to the buyer as a sample of the product in their possession. Smbat Tonoyan's son Samvel Tonoyan, was a member of the Special Investigative Service of the Republic of Armenia. Interestingly, the seized HEU was provided to the smugglers by the same Armenian national, Garik Dadayan who was arrested in possession of the first sample of HEU intercepted in Georgia in 2003. Having served a relatively light prison sentence of 2.5 years, he resurfaced again in 2010 as a supplier of the same material.

2010, September 16 - Tbilisi Airport, Georgia: Three persons were arrested at Tbilisi airport for attempting to sell a small quantity of mixed powder containing about 0.0004 kg of Plutonium (Pu) and 0.00008 kg of LEU. The individuals said they had brought the Uranium and Pu from the Russian Federation and Ukraine to sell it. One member of the group was from Armenia.

2014 August - Armenia-Georgia border (Sadakhlo-Bagratashen checkpoint): Georgian authorities arrested two Armenians trying to smuggle Cesium 137 into Georgia.

2016 January - Armenia-Georgia border (Sadakhlo-Bagratashen checkpoint): Georgian authorities arrested three Armenians, also for trying to sneak Cesium 137 across the border.

2016 mid-April - Georgia's State Security Service detained three citizens of Armenia and three citizens of Georgia with trying to sell $200 million worth of Uranium-238 that was found in the home of one of the Georgians. The prefabricated transportation containers full of uranium were found in one of the detainee's apartment, he further said without disclosing the precise amount of the radioactive material. It is also known that the group of 3 Armenian citizens, previously worked in Metsamor NPP. One of the detainees was identified as a former associate of the Armenian secret service. This group planned to sell Uranium-238 to the Middle East region.

Repeated seizures at the Armenia-Georgia border and the unusually high number of Armenian nationals implicated in nuclear trafficking cases provide sufficient evidence to confirm the existence of the Armenian route. Some of these cases involved seizures of of weapons-usable nuclear material. Radioactive sources could be also used for malicious purposes, for example in a radiological dispersal device or "dirty bomb."

Uncontrolled radioactive sources also have the potential to harm human health or the environment. Unlawfully discarded or disposed of radioactive sources, when melted at scrap metal recycle plants, may lead to severe environmental and economic related consequences.

Sources: Annual statistics reports of the IAEA Incident and Trafficking Database (IDTB), Database on Nuclear Smuggling, Theft, and Orphan Radiation Sources (DSTO), reports by NTI, SIPRI, and other open media sources.

Subscribe to Trend in Google News! Subscribe
Azerbaijan holds expanded meeting of Operational Headquarters for Combating COVID-19 (PHOTO)
Azerbaijan holds expanded meeting of Operational Headquarters for Combating COVID-19 (PHOTO)
Azerbaijan discloses state budget revenues through State Customs Committee
Azerbaijan discloses state budget revenues through State Customs Committee
Volume of loans issued in Azerbaijan’s real estate sector increases
Volume of loans issued in Azerbaijan’s real estate sector increases
Loading Bars
Latest
Germany's SPD will announce its ministers next week
Messi wins The 2021 Ballon d'Or
Georgia’s electricity exports double
Wild winds in Turkey claim lives, close Bosphorus strait
Azerbaijan represented at III Pacific Alliance International Cooperation Forum
Iran top nuclear negotiator, Mora meet ahead of Vienna talks
Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan discuss creation of trade-logistics complexes in border areas
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey to step down
Georgian delegation leaves for Brussels
Azerbaijani, Saudi Arabian foreign ministries hold consultations
Famous artist receives Azerbaijani citizenship
Azerbaijan holds expanded meeting of Operational Headquarters for Combating COVID-19 (PHOTO)
Azerbaijan approves COVID-19 certificates
Azerbaijan discloses state budget revenues through State Customs Committee
Volume of loans issued in Azerbaijan’s real estate sector increases
Price indexes of industrial, construction sectors at Uzbek stock exchange fall
Kazakhstan to build hybrid solar power station
Azerbaijan's foreign trade turnover increases in 10M2021
Some CSTO members’ congratulations to Azerbaijan show Armenia's insignificance in CSTO - analyst
Interest rates on consumer loans in Georgia increase
Uzbekistan starts construction of new branch of Gazli-Kagan gas pipeline
Kazakhstan eyes increasing container shipments
SOCAR projects increase in local manufacturing of fuel products from 2023
IRENEX shares data on sales of Bandar Imam Petrochemical Company
Turkmen Ministry of Textile extends tender for modernization of cotton-spinning factory
Snam to increase spending on energy transition activities
Iran eyes decrease in passenger transportation via Bandar Abbas International Airport
Turkmenistan becomes Uzbekistan’s second largest gasoline supplier
Azerbaijan adopts new state standard on farming activities
Azerbaijan Deposit Insurance Fund reveals number of loans of liquidated banks
Uzbek Statistics Committee shares data on import of cement
Azerbaijan rapidly continues construction of Barda-Aghdam highway (PHOTO)
Iran discloses details of its daily gasoline production
Snam reveals investment plans by 2024
Snam expects to achieve sustainable growth of main indicators in 2021-2025
Snam raises methane emissions reduction target
Azerbaijan’s economy minister talks projects submitted for country's industrial parks
New deputy ministers of Youth and Sports of Azerbaijan appointed
Georgia’s Partnership Fund to be renovated – minister
Iran resuming exports to Tajikistan through Turkmenistan's routes
SOCAR returns part of loans through its activities in Turkey
Issue of building railway, highway along Araz River resolved – Turkish President
Ankara is ready to take steps to normalize ties with Israel – Turkish President
Azerbaijan confirms 857 more COVID-19 cases, 1,091 recoveries
Iran’s Bahar Azadi gold coin price skyrockets
Azerbaijan shares data on number of vaccinated citizens
Number of Turkish citizens seeking jobs in Uzbekistan greatly increases
EV maker Phoenix Motors files for U.S. IPO
Turkmenistan pays special attention to boosting transport, transit communications - president
Kazakhstan's KMG Engineering to buy batteries via tender
Gulf bourses regain some ground after Omicron battering
Iran shares data on generation of Shahid Rajaee TPP
ADB to finance export projects of Turkmen SMEs
Data on new Omicron coronavirus strain analyzed by crisis center - Kremlin
Georgia sees increase in persimmon exports
Kazakhstan’s oil-producing company opens tender for equipment repair services
Portugal finds 13 cases of Omicron variant at Lisbon soccer club
Turkmenistan ready to provide its port facilities in Caspian Sea for ECO countries
Cargo transportation via Iran’s Ahvaz International Airport climbs
Israel's Partner Communications swings to Q3 profit
Foreign assets of Azerbaijan’s commercial banks increase in 10M2021
Civilian injured in mine explosion in Azerbaijan's Jabrayil district
Georgia expects slower monetary policy normalization pace – TBC Capital
SOCAR to optimize fuel production at Baku refinery based on international standards
Iran reveals COVID-19 data for November 29
Turkey reveals volume of cargo transshipped via its local ports in 10M2021
SOCAR expects progress on Heydar Aliyev Baku Oil Refinery reconstruction project by late 2021
Mortar and artillery units of Azerbaijani army hold live-fire tactical exercises (VIDEO)
Kazakhstan-Turkmenistan bilateral trade up for 9M2021
Weekly review of Azerbaijani oil market
Iran membership in ECO expands regional economic ties
Azerbaijani Economy Minister talks land allocated for Aghdam Industrial Park
Uzbek Central Bank notes growth in volume of non-performing loans
Russia detects 33,860 daily COVID-19 cases
Georgia’s tangerine exports double
Iran looks to use new methods to export crude oil, gas condensate
SOCAR Turkey announces time of making final decision on Merkury project
Price of apartments in Iran’s Tehran rising
Kazakhstan reports increase in cargo transport by air
National Bank of Georgia shares data on loans interest growth
Azerbaijan records growth in prices for hotel services - Hotels & Restaurants Association
Georgia’s GDP shows unprecedented growth – PM
Azerbaijan’s volume of loans issued to industry, manufacturing sector decreases
OPEC+ countries expected to adjust future plans at upcoming meeting - analyst
Azerbaijan’s SMBDA and "ASAN Radio" launch radio programs for entrepreneurs
Russia can fully increase oil production under OPEC+ deal - Deputy Prime Minister
Iran sees increase in exports via customs of Sistan & Baluchestan Province
Turkey discloses number of ships received at local ports in October 2021
Turkey discloses number of cars transshipped via local ports in 10M2021
Kazakhstan records decline in prices of several main food products
President Ilham Aliyev signs order to recall Consul General of Azerbaijan in Russia’s Yekaterinburg
Number of Turkish citizens seeking job in Turkmenistan grows for 10M2021
How will gas swap from Turkmenistan to Azerbaijan via Iran benefit participants?
Trilateral contract to help strengthen Iran's relations with neighbors – MP
COVID-19 vaccination certificates in Azerbaijan have no expiration date, TABIB says
Uzbekistan takes over chairmanship of organization of ECO summit
Russia plays very important role in normalization of relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan - President Aliyev
Azerbaijan looks to export diesel fuel to Turkish, Georgian markets (Exclusive)
President Ilham Aliyev gives interview to Rossiya-1 TV channel (VIDEO)
UNDP representative talks measures to protect rights of women in Azerbaijan
All news