IAEA experts inspected Abkhazia

Publish date: September 20, 2005

Experts from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspected Abkhazia from September 7 to September 11.

The experts inspected how radioactive substances were kept at the Sukhumi Institute of Physical Engineering and the Research Institute of Experimental Pathology and Therapy. After a two-day inspection, the experts had talks with Abkhazian President Sergei Bagapsh, who told the IAEA experts to come more often, ITAR-TASS reported.

The experts got access to all the sites they wanted and discovered that all the materials remained intact and had not disappeared as some sources claimed. It will take a few months to get the complete report on the inspection trip.

IAEA experts have visited the republic twice before, in 1999 and 2002, in order to check how radioactive substances are kept. “All radioactive substances are stored properly, as the IAEA commission could see in 2002, and the terms of storage have not changed since then,” the director of the Sukhumi Institute of Physical Engineering, Anatoly Markoly, said before the experts’ visit. “The level of radiation at the institute and in Abkhazia does not exceed the norm,” he said to ITAR-TASS.

Reuters reported earlier in June that the IAEA wanted to find any weapons-grade plutonium or highly enriched uranium that may have gone missing from a nuclear institute in Abkhazia. There are concerns that some 9 kg of plutonium may be missing, according to this report. But the authorities in the unrecognized republic denied this information.