Armenia Tightens Control over Radioactive Materials

YEREVAN–The Armenian government approved the licensing order of radioactive materials to prevent illegal shipmen’s of materials and equipment containing them–reported RIA-Novosti.

Armenian authorities arrested a man last month carrying radioactive cesium-137 in the trunk of his car. The highly toxic material is capable of contaminating large areas if used as a dirty bomb.

Yerevan resident Gagik Tovmasian was arrested on charges of illegal trade in radioactive materials. It was unclear how the man obtained the material which is used in Armenia in density gauges and for machine calibration.

Devices containing cesium-137 can cause serious radiation exposure if broken and held. Depending on the amount and form–experts say a dirty bomb made with cesium-137 could spread intense radioactivity over a section of a city–making it uninhabitable.

The AP reported that a powerful source of radiation was found last February on the Armenian-Iranian border–amid scrap metal headed for Iran.

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