Nuclear Radiation Monitors
Research International offers a full line of field-proven radiation detectors ranging from personnel monitors suitable for airport and customs applications, to research-grade equipment suitable for nuclear physics research. Our supplier is Aspect Scientific Production Center in Dubna, Russia. They are the major supplier to customs and border patrol in Russia and their equipment has a reputation for reliability and ruggedness. See “Newsworthy Intercepts” for a wide variety of past events in which this equipment has been used to detect and halt the illicit transport of nuclear materials.
Stationary Radiation Monitoring Systems for vehicles, trains and passenger luggage
For monitoring for the presence of fissile and radioactive materials. Designed to detect radioactive and nuclear materials during continuous automatic monitoring of vehicles, trains, pedestrians, and luggage at various checkpoints.
Dosimetric and radiometric equipment
For radiation control at nuclear facilities, defense facilities, and radiation environmental monitoring.
Nuclear radiation detectors and spectrometers
For detection of gamma-radiation and conversion of its energy into electric signals of corresponding amplitudes so that they can be later processed.
April 2, 2008: The import of radioactive goods from China
The Birobidzhan Customs House officers have detected Chinese radioactive goods crossing the border of Russian Federation.
At the Nizhneleninskiy check point of Amurzet Customs House a citizen of People’s Republic of China was in the middle of customs formalities procedure on his arrival from Tuntszyan when his personal baggage was checked by fissile and radioactive materials monitoring equipment. In the course of the check the Yantar-2P radiation monitoring system was triggered. The alarm went off while monitoring the burner polymeric grids packed in paper. The Chinese citizen was going to import into Russia 21 packages of the grids with total weight of 286 grams. He explained that the grids were intended for his private use for increasing the luminance of kerosene burners and that he was not aware of their increased level of ionizing radiation. In addition, the kerosene burners had been checked using the DKG-RM-02 portable dosimeter. As reported by Far Eastern Customs Directorate Press Service, the measured gamma-radiation dose rate on the goods surface has made up 2.5 µSv/hour having increased the norm by several times (at the natural background of 0.12 µSv/hour). The kerosene burner grids were confiscated and transferred to Russian Federal Consumer Rights Protection and Human Health Control Service in the Jewish Autonomous Region for carrying out a complete examination. A final expert opinion was issued by Federal State Healthcare Service “Hygiology and Epidemiology Center of Jewish Autonomous Region” indicating the goods do not comply with radiation safety norms and basic radiation safety sanitary regulations established in Russia. A decision has been made to return the goods back to China.
Prior to shipment measures are taken to provide temporal storage and physical protection.
June 19, 2007: System signals radioactive cargo
In 2007 Yantar has alarmed 76 times signaling that the border is being crossed by goods with excessive radiation. In June 2007 alone, the system has alarmed 10 times, says the spokesperson of the Ural Customs Directorate. Excessive radiation level was detected in Belarusian china and glass crockery, Russian abrasive wheels and sanitary wares, Turkish facing tiles and German liquid potassium hydroxide, Italian refractory concrete and sand, Belgian herbicides.
June 13, 2007: Radioactive person detained in Vladivostok
A person attempting to carry a radioactive source was detained at a checkpoint of the Vladivostok Fish Port. When the man attempted to pass the checkpoint, the Yantar radiation monitor alarmed. All checkpoints in the Port are equipped with such systems. The investigation found that the man found an old instrument panel in a rubbish pile and wrenched off several instruments from that panel. One of the instruments had a scale containing radioactive radium salts.
As a result, the man, as well as his belongings and bag, became contaminated with radioactive salts. The radiation control instruments detected contamination with beta and alpha emitting radionuclides.
“If it had not been for the equipment and joint actions of the Port security, we could have surely expected total radioactive contamination of the man’s housing, and even public places of Vladivostok” – said the spokesperson of the Primtekhnopolis company, which is responsible for elimination of radioactive contamination accidents in Primorye.
June 2, 2007: Hazardous cargo
Early yesterday morning, the Yantar system helped Pskov Customs Officers at Vehicle Crossing Shumilkino to detect excessive radiation in a Scania truck en route from Latvia to Russia. The dose rate was detected to be 0.10 μSv/h, the normal rate being 0.08 μSv/h. The detained Scania truck was loaded with 20 tons of fireproofing material bound from Germany for a furnace at one of the metallurgical works in Sverdlovsk Region.
The truck was forwarded to a detention area pending presentation of permission paperwork.
October 24, 2006: Yantars guard the Russian borders
Since the beginning of 2006, more than 1,600 attemps to transfer goods with excessive radiation levels through the South Customs Points have been detected.
Igor Litvinov, Head of the Southern Customs Directorate, reported that the South Customs Points are equipped with 243 Yantar systems, which automatically detect and alarm radiation hazards.
July 2, 2006: Train passenger carrying radioactive baggage from Moscow
In Belgorod Region, border guards detained a passenger with radioactive baggage. According to the Federal Customs Service of the RF (FCS), aboard passenger train No. 17, bound for Moscow – Sevastopol was under radiation control at railroad checking point Dolbino, Belgorod Customs, the stationary customs radioactive monitoring system was triggered. The system also identified the carriage, which contained a radioactive source.
Belgorod customs officers examined the suspicious carriage with hand-held radiation monitors and discovered two sensors of radio isotopic ice detectors, which are installed on planes and helicopters, contained in a cardboard box in the hand luggage of a Ukrainian citizen.
FCS spokesman reported that ionizing radiation on the box surface was 280 times higher than the natural radioactive background. The sensors had a notice “Warning! Radioactive!” and a signal of radioactive hazard.
According to the experts of the Hygienic and Epidemiological Center of Belgorod Region, the sensors appeared to be sealed radionuclide sources, which can be handled only by those specialists who have a special license. FCS spokesman noted that these sources are permitted outside Russia only upon presentation of a special license, which the passenger did not have.
The above became the ground for institution of a l egal case against Art.188 P.2 of the Criminal Code of the RF (contraband). The sensors have been withdrawn and placed in a specially equipped area.
January 31, 2006: Strong source of radiation found in Vladivostok Fish Port
A strong source of radiation was found in Vladivostok Fish Port. According to Primtekhnopolis - a company engaged in disposal of radioactive materials - the source was detected by Yantar system in a vehicle entering the port.
The radiation rate exceeded natural background by 30 times, which was hazardous for people's health, emphasized the specialists of Primtekhnopolis. Radiation was emitted by a sea instrument that contained components made of Radium-226 based material.
The instrument was removed for disposal, as required by the law.
June 23, 2005: Strong source of radiation detected in Vladivostok Sea Port
A strong source of radiation (300mR/h) was detected in Vladivostok Sea Port on 22 June, 2005 by radiation control system “Yantar”. The source was hidden in metal scrap carried by a small truck, that arrived at the port.
As the specialists of Primtechnopolis informed RIA Novosti, they supposed that the arrested rod is a component of specialized equipment – radioisotope depth density meter.
Primorye Transport Office of Public Prosecutor has brought a case regarding detection of a strong source of radiation in Vladivostok Fish Port. Action is brought against Article 220 Part 1 of RF Criminal Code (unauthorized handling of radioactive materials).
January 28, 2005: Car with Uranium-238 detained at Orenburg Customs
Orenburg Customs detained a car that was carrying above 37 kg of Uranium-238 from Russia to Kazakhstan. This incident was reported to RIA Novosti by Maksim Prytkov, Chief State Customs Inspector for Mass Media, Near-Volga Operative Customs. The container with uranium was detected by the officers of Iletsk Customs Point of Orenburg Customs, Near-Volga Customs Directorate. During radiation control of a car at the international vehicle crossing the Yantar system alarmed indicating an excessive level of ionizing radiation.
Officers searched the car and discovered a metal cylinder that turned out to be the source of radiation. Following an investigation it was found the that the source was considered a “protective container KZ-1 for remote operations at loading and unloading of holders with radioactive sources” and it contained 37.5 kg of radioactive Uranium-238 (depleted uranium). The officer noted that the container with uranium was declared by the driver as “dumb-bells”. According to the owner, he had found this “sports equipment” at a dump and used it for physical exercise, and sometimes to straighten nails.
An investigation is being held into the origin of the item. Inquiry Department of Orenburg Customs started legal procedures for this case of illicit trafficking of radioactive material across the Russian borders
January 18, 2005: Radioactive cargo detained at Russian-Georgian Borde
Vladikavkaz custom officers detained radioactive cargo at check point Nizhniy Zaromag along the Russian-Georgian border. According to the Press Service of North-Caucasian Frontier Directorate of the RF Federal Security Service, the cargo was detained during the custom registration of a Mercedes minibus and turned out to be potassium powder in 42 bags and 35 kg of technical scaly hydroxide, along with eleven 50-kg barrels of aluminium powder. The cargo was bound from Pyatigorsk to Georgia. The Yantar radioactive safety system, installed at the check points, was triggered by radiation emitted by the cargo. The measured radioactive background was 45mR/h against the usual 9mR/h.
January 14, 2005: Chinese sailor tried to cross border with radioactive material
A sailor aboard a Hong-Kong vessel was hiding a strong radioactive isotope Cs-137 on his body and was arrested in Murmansk. According to the North-Western Customs Directorate, customs officers at Murmansk check point, the Cesium-137 was hidden in the backing of a jacket which belonged to a Chinese crew member ofYong Taivessel (Hong Kong). Equivalent dose rate on the surface of the object was 5.83 mSv/h, natural background – 0.157 mSv/h. The radioactivity was detected by the Yantar fixed-site system.
The jacket with isotope was forwarded to Federal Security Service officers who performed additional radiation control with hand-held devices. In the sailor’s cabin the officers also discovered a lipcare stick and playing wooden sticks which have an average gamma dose rate on surface of 320 mSv/h. After the sources have been isolated in a cellophane packet and then in a paper packet, they were placed under control of the vessel’s captain.
November 9, 2004: Toxic Radioactive Liquid
Attention of Novosibirsk Customs Point officers at an entrance point of Ob’ (Novosibirsk Region) was drawn to a truck carrying several barrels, three of which were leaking. The liquid from the barrels was coming down the wheels and had already covered the bottom of the truck bed. The truck was immediately moved to a sandy area behind the check point and the driver was sent for medical examination. “We immediately checked the cargo for radiation, and the Yantar system showed that the background level was several times higher than permissible level”, said Igor Hatkevich, Alternate Head of Novosibirsk Customs Point.
Representatives of Transport Inspection, Sanitary and Epidemiology Service, Service for Civil Defence and Emergency Cases were called to the place. The driver did have accompanying documentation but it was in Italian. “So we have not determined yet what substance has leaked”, continued Igor Hatkevich.
The cargo was bound to Anzher Engineering Plant and it was most likely to be some toxic liquid for production of casting patterns. Sanitary and Epidemiology Service representatives measured radiation background and it was six times higher than permissible levels, yet they failed to classify the substance, and the samples were sent to Siberian Branch of Russian Academy of Sciences.
October 16, 2004: Terrorist weapon bound from Georgia to Kuban
Sochi Customs officers detained a container with lethally dangerous radioactive cesium inside. Customs officers were inspecting a car coming from Georgia when their attention was drawn to a metal box on the front seat beside the driver. In the box there was a suspicious round object. This object was checked using the Yantar fixed-site system for radiation control, and it appeared that the measured radiation background was far higher than the permissible level.
Further inspection revealed that the box contained industrial cesium – substance that can be lethally hazardous. For the sake of the present investigation, information concerning the amount of the substance, as well as where the driver took it and why he was carrying it to Russia, has not been made public yet. A criminal case has been brought against the owner of the car.