TBILISI, DFWatch – Georgia has no detailed information about the three Turkish citizens who were arrested for smuggling radioactive material to Turkey.
The three had driven by car from Russia, transiting through Georgia, and were arrested on April 11, carrying with them 500 grams of radioactive cesium-137.
Turkish media reported that the three Turks are currently living Georgia as well as Germany, but Shota Utiashvili, head of the analysis department at Georgia’s interior ministry, said today that the ministry waits for official information from Turkey.
Russian News agency Ria Novosti writes that the operation was launched after a tip-off that a car in Turkey with German number plates was illegally importing radioactive material. Gendarmes stopped the car in an industrial area in Ankara.
Turkish media writes that the cesium-137 was obtained in Russia and the three suspects were planning to sell it on the black market for one million dollars.
Cesium-137 is a byproduct of nuclear fission in nuclear reactors, and is used for cancer treatment and for industrial purposes, but can also be used in the production of nuclear weapons.
The radioactive material was a pale yellow-colored substance kept in two glass tubes, wrapped in a napkin and placed in a plastic box, according to the Turkish website Haberler.com.