Russia: Nuclear Ministry Says Nuclear Material Theft Attempts Have Dropped--Denies Western Reports of 90 Instances in Recent Years : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

Saturday, September 30, 2000

Ministry Notes Drop in Nuclear Material Theft


Nuclear officials said that attempted thefts of fissile nuclear materials had fallen in recent years, but also complained that funds were short to establish a proper accounting system for them.

Deputy Nuclear Energy Minister Valentin Ivanov told a news conference after a Cabinet meeting Thursday that only two attempted thefts of such materials had been recorded between 1995 and 1999 compared to 21 over the four previous years.

Ivanov said Western reports of 90 such instances were untrue.

Nuclear Energy Minister Yevgeny Adamov later told ORT television that thefts were still theoretically possible. But it was difficult to dispose of nuclear materials and turn a profit.

"It is possible, of course, to steal anything to a certain extent," he said. "The events of recent years show this.

"But there have only been a few instances, mainly between 1992 and 1995. Interest in this has since fallen off. You might steal nuclear fuel rods, for instance, but what do you do with them then?"

The press periodically reports on the theft of nuclear materials from army bases or other sites, usually blaming criminals or servicemen or individuals looking for a quick source of cash.

Ivanov said nuclear materials were held by 61 different institutions in the country and the government lacked funds to establish modern accounting methods to keep track of stocks.

He said more than 2 billion rubles (about $70 million) was required over five years to create such a system, but that only 70 million rubles ($2.3 million) had been allocated.

-- Carl Jenkins (, September 30, 2000


I don't believe any of this for a minute; if they don't have the proper accounting funds to keep track, how could they know?

-- Nancy7 (, September 30, 2000.

For useful background, see:

"Potatoes were guarded better" Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, May/June 1995


"Smuggling update," Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, May/June 1997

-- Andre Weltman (, October 02, 2000.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ