Nuclear smuggling exposed in secret trial
Monday 08 November 2010
Nuclear weapons-grade uranium is now available on the black market in Georgia, according to officials who broke up a smuggling ring in the former Soviet republic.
Highly enriched uranium was smuggled from Armenia to Georgia in a lead-lined cigarette packet in March. Two men involved in transporting the substance were arrested in April.
In a closed hearing, Sumbat Tonayan, a former dairy factory owner and Hrant Ohanian, a retired nuclear physicist from a science institute in Armenia, pleaded guilty to smuggling the 90 per cent-enriched uranium from the Armenian capital Yerevan to Tbilisi. They face 10 years in jail. It remains unclear whether the 18g of uranium contained in the cigarette packet was a sample of a larger shipment, which has yet to be located.
Before his arrest, Tonoyan suggested to an undercover agent that he had more uranium to sell. Investigators are now working to determine the origins of the radioactive material.
The investigation has highlighted the difficulty of stopping nuclear smuggling in the region. Radiation detectors on the Georgia-Armenia border failed to identify the substance.
Mr Pavlenishvili, chief of Georgia's nuclear smuggling unit, said: "The dangerous thing is that there might be more material out there somewhere.
"This proves that if a criminal or an extremist is wealthy enough, it is possible to obtain material."
- 1 What happens to your body when you give up sugar?
- 2 Drugs Live cannabis trial: Hash is less harmful than any other drug, expert claims
- 3 Turkish Airlines flight TK 726 crash-lands on Nepal runway in dense fog
- 4 Have sex with your iPad thanks to the new sex toy no-one asked for
- 5 The majority of sex workers enjoy their job - why should we find that surprising?
Out-of-touch MPs ‘don’t get it’, says ex-Civil Service chief
George Clooney and Amal fail to get special treatment at New York restaurant
Cindy Crawford 'un-PhotoShopped' viral Marie Claire image was doctored, photographer claims
'A girl is more responsible for rape than a boy': The statement that shocked the world... except India
The 'sex selfie stick' lets you FaceTime the inside of a vagina
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut
Durham Free School: 'Creationism taught at' free school facing closure
Ukip would cut billions from Scottish budget to fund English tax cuts
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
Ukraine crisis: Top Chinese diplomat backs Putin and says West should 'abandon zero-sum mentality'
Boris Nemtsov shot dead: Outspoken Putin critic who had expressed fears for his life is killed near the Kremlin
£14400 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join a multi-d...
£34000 - £36000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This provider of Energy Consult...
Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: FIRST CLASS FIRM - A very exciting opportunity...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A leading Leicestershire based chilled food ma...