Russian Nuclear Material Seized in Turkey

Publish date: September 8, 1998

Written by: Thomas Nilsen

Four-and-half kilograms of uranium and six grams of plutonium from Russia were seized by Turkish police on Monday. Eight people are arrested, including nationals from Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and Turkey. The arrests occurred only a few days after international experts warned that the present economical collapse in Russia could increase the number of attempts to smuggle nuclear material out of the country.

According to the Istanbul police, the seized uranium and plutonium, brought to Turkey from an unspecified source in Russia, could be used for nuclear weapons production. The police acted as potential buyers when they seized the nuclear material and arrested eight people. The arrested tried to sell the material for $1 million. The Istanbul prosecutor office is interrogating the suspects.

The French news agency AFP reports that the uranium and plutonium was sent to Turkey’s Atomic Research Institute in Istanbul to be examined further. This is not the first time radioactive isotopes from Russia have been seized in Turkey, but according to the police this is the first time Turkey has seized such material for alleged use in weapons production.