The kidnappers of death

Dashing 90-e — a difficult and wonderful time. In just a few years one of the most influential forces in the ruins of the Soviet Empire began to organized crime groups (OCG). The process of primary accumulation of capital and redistribution of property took place with their active participation. To the hands tidied all that is bad. Including sources of radiation: the fact that they are deadly, criminals do not bother — after all, the black market for such goods can pay good money. Objects the kidnappers had chosen the most different — right down to the atomic icebreaker “Russia”. The most striking story of the hunt for radiation remembered “the”.

One of the most notorious cases of theft of radioactive material occurred in the Murmansk nuclear icebreaker “Russia”. In July 1999, the tech-radiation monitor and a senior engineer-deactivator managed to steal from the reactor compartment of the ship five grams of a radioactive californium-252. It came out surprisingly easy, because one of the kidnappers responsible for the removal and shipment to a burial ground of radioactive waste materials.

And then one day, the engineer simply sent to spetskhranenie empty container: it is quite clear that to reveal dangerous goods to check no one. Itself a radioactive substance, the attackers put in a small container filled with paraffin, the fact that he’s almost better just absorbs the neutron radiation which comes from California. To be sure the container is put in the water.

All these precautions were not in vain: California stands out by radiochemical from irradiated nuclear fuel. His neutron radiation has the highest penetrating power is almost 10 times more dangerous than gamma radiation. California could potentially become a dangerous weapon in the right hands — for example, as a slow-acting poison, whose presence is very difficult to notice.

it is possible that such considerations guided the masterminds of the crime: a few grams of CA they promised the kidnappers impressive 100 thousand dollars. However, to quickly steal a dangerous substance has failed, and when it happened, and potential buyers have disappeared. In search of other customers accomplices were forced to go from Murmansk to Saint Petersburg.

In the Northern capital of the accomplices, it seemed that everything went like clockwork: the deal was agreed, however, reducing the price by half. But instead of buyers at sports-concert complex, Gagarin Avenue hapless businessmen met employees RUBOP and FSB, who played the role of customers. In the end, instead of a solid revenue both received five years in prison for the theft of radioactive materials.

90 years, to humble the district Safonovo, a hundred kilometers from Smolensk was marked by the emergence of several gangsgathered under his wing quite a motley contingent. Bandits hunted in every way possible; in addition, in April 1997 they managed to steal one of the local factories, some heavy lead containers (type BGI-2M) weighing 60 kilograms each.

These containers are produced at one time, the plant “Baltiets” in the Estonian Narva, were used as emitters for sensors, density meters and level gauges (instruments for measuring density and levels of content in the vessels). Outwardly they resemble a smaller copy of the diver’s helmet with portholes-plugs on the sides and hook-valve at the top. Inside this “slam” is a powerful source of radiation and the lead shield serves to protect him from dangerous radiation.

get hold of such an unusual production, the bandits apparently had two aims: first, to leverage sources of radiation. Despite the fact that the level of knowledge of the “old chap” was very low, even they had heard: radioactive substances on the black market are good. However, information about the degree of danger of these materials to the bandits, apparently, not reached and therefore they decided to hand over the protective sheath of containers of lead for scrap. Without thinking, the kidnappers ax began to chop containers to reach the hidden springs inside them, radiating 8 x-rays per hour. It is within the acceptable accidental exposure, but a permanent presence near such a source does not Bode well.

When in a private house, where lived the members put the gang was raided by the operatives in the yard, they came across the fallen debris of those lead “hats”. Two sources of radiation without the protective shell was nearby bandits carefully Packed them in a jar of mayonnaise and a plastic bag. It is curious that members of the group, it seems, seriously intended to do radiation a lot of money: they have found more and 14 fire detectors along with the detector, also containing radioactive materials. The complement of a “gentleman’s set” guns, plastic explosives and more.

Conducting the search the officers of the Smolensk management interior Ministry on the advice of outside experts local MOE put all the radioactive findings in a concrete ring with the shaft of sand around, and then covered with a concrete slab. It is also poured sand to further reduce the level of dangerous radiation. Urgently summoned from Moscow specialists of the enterprise “radon” held dosimetric reconnaissance and decontamination areas, and the threat sources were taken to be stored on setpolygon. What to eight members put on their gang, their business plan is to capitalize on the radiation turned the judicial process and prison terms.

Among the many kidnappers of radioactive materials in the 90-ies across truly unique characters. One of them is the fitter chemical plant in Dzerzhinsk, Nizhny Novgorod region (let’s call him Andrew). In March 1995 Andrew life came a very black period. Quarrel with his wife and mother-in-law. Then the fascination with alcohol. Or Vice versa. Nobody can remember. Anyway, during the next binge installer called for the idea to take revenge isodisk his women, fast and cruel: putting a lethal source of radiation in their apartment (he lived separately).

First Andrew in a condition of strong alcoholic intoxication, tried to make it from the factory cesium source ionizing radiation from the transmitter UR-7. Holding a metal cylinder in a sweaty fist, the installer took it home. But damn cesium so badly burned hand, which Andrew could not resist and threw the hot capsule nearest to the plant dump. Sober, avenger bandaged burnt hand, drank for courage — and went to finish the job. This time the attempt failed: from factory it is made from the density meter PM-1025М.

However, to let Andrew in his apartment wife and mother-in-law flatly refused. Then he decided to hide the source until better times — and put it in cupboard with electric meters in the stairwell near Teschin apartment. Fortunately, the loss of hazardous materials at the plant noticed quickly. The first source was soon found in the dustbin. And then the investigators outlined a circle of suspects, which were already assembling with signs of radiation burns on the hands. Andrew “split” instantly — and immediately told me where he had hidden the second container.

However, to find a small (size of a pistol cartridge) cylinder in the weave of wires in the unit of meters was not easy. First, the emergency personnel have even considered the question of the evacuation of all tenants. But he was a brave man, who had the necessary knowledge, head of radiation safety Department of the regional Committee of state sanitary and epidemiological supervision. Wearing a protection mask and lead apron — an experienced radiologist a few minutes digging in the corners of electrical switchboards and quickly found the stolen source.

as to the installer of Andrew, he fully confessed to the crime, repented sincerely, and therefore received a minimum term of four years imprisonment. That was enough for the treatment of radiation burns, effects of radiation and alcoholism.

However, not all cases of theft of radioactive materials ended relatively well. A good example is a story that happened in a seemingly calm Estonia in autumn 1994. After the collapse of the USSR, the economy of the former Union republics began to experience great difficulties, and the standard of living of the population there decreased sharply. So three residents of the small village of Kiisa, hunted collecting scrap metal, decided on a desperate step for the sake of easy money. In the dead of night they came on a poorly protected area of Republican point of burial radioactive waste in 40 km from Tallinn.

Riha Heap descended to the surface of the vault, and began to pass up the accomplices of heavy metal objects (cans, containers, and miscellaneous iron junk). In some point of the so-called “assemblies”, a structure for fastening multiple sources of radiation, similar to a revolving drum, — fell two sources of ionizing radiation of high power (metal cylinders with a length of 15 cm). One of them Riha left in the boneyard, and the second is automatically put into the pocket of his jacket.

Gathering prey, the confederates went home. Was less than an hour — but already on the way to the house where lived his friends, Riha felt bad. He took off his jacket, hung it in the hallway and went to sleep. In the morning, again the man put it on and went to the car to his home, where stayed in bed with weakness and vomiting. Four days Riha was hospitalized. Dangerous source a few days lying in the pocket of a jacket hanging in the hallway, but then he found 13-year-old adopted son Richy Ryan Tubli. He took the source in the tool box, kept in the kitchen.

a Week later, Riha Chip died. His son guessed that the source of something: frightened, the boy hid dangerous subject in the booth of a domestic dog. Soon a guard dog died, becoming the second victim. After some time, was hospitalized and a teenager, and then coming to visit him friend, my grandmother, who lived with him in the same house and accomplices of his late father. All of them received the radiation burns and a strong dose of radiation.

the Source of their troubles were part of the sterilization installation. Dose of gamma radiation was huge — more than 200 roentgen per hour. With six hours of such exposure (1200 x-ray), the mortality is 100 percent. After this tragic incident, the Estonian authorities took the decision to the full preservation of the burial ground near Tallinn. Unfortunately, following this example, not all countries of the former USSR. Some time after the Estonian incident, six collectors of abandoned metal in the village of Ivanovka near the Semipalatinsk test site (Kazakhstan) came down in an abandoned missile silo with metal and copper wire. Soon they all died from radiation sickness.

to Find in the public sources of official statistics theft of radioactive materials is very difficult. According to experts, cases of theft contaminated with radionuclides and metal met at least sixteen countries: Brazil, Georgia, Egypt, India, Kazakhstan, China, Kyrgyzstan, Morocco, Moldova, Norway, USA, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, Estonia and Germany.