Russia’s Federal Security Service prevented leakage of poisonous substance that had been stolen from an enterprise specializing in utilization of worn out nuclear submarines. Fortunately, the “poisonous bomb” did not detonate.
Here is the official information from Russia’s Federal Security Service:
“An unauthorized attempt to sell and purchase a virulent poisonous substance, thallium, was prevented. The FSB discovered a group of people who schemed the resale of the poisonous metal. Special search activities were held to withdraw about five kilogram of thallium. The people were detained, and a criminal case based on the RF Criminal Code article #234 was initiated. The substance is extremely dangerous. The maximum concentration limit of thallium in water makes up only 0,0001 mg/m3, and 0,0004 mg/m3 in free air. Thallium is extremely ecologically dangerous because it quickly oxidizes when exposed to air.”
The investigation of the criminal case is not finished yet, which is why we are not authorized to report all the details. We will try to explain the potential danger of five kg of thallium in simple words: the amount is quite enough to poison hydraulic works of such large cities like Moscow or St. Petersburg. The tragedy would kill more people than the Sept.11 terrorism attack in New York.
In addition, bin Laden’s terrorists studied characteristics of poisonous substances in Afghanistan’s training centers of Taliban. Thallium is one of the key substances they studied. Indeed, the metal is the most invisible weapon. At the same time, it has not yet been officially reported that the stolen thallium originates from Chechnya, it is just a supposition.
A competent person, who requested anonymity, said, “Originally, we identified two persons who offered so-called thallium cartridges (components of measuring devices at nuclear subs). We know nothing yet about other members of the group and origin of the poisonous substance. A special activity called “controlled supply” was held to identify the way the poison could be stolen from the enterprise. People involved in the murky deal were caught red-handed. One man, a former security guard at a northern enterprise specializing in the repair of nuclear submarines, was arrested and taken to a special isolation cell. Other members of the group, a kind of chain consisting of four people, were released after giving a written undertaking not to leave the area. The case was brought before the Martial Prosecutor’s Office. The criminal chain started with a senior naval officer; four thallium cartridges were withdrawn from him. Simultaneously, another channel for stealing thallium was discovered. Former police officer worked at one of the military units; nine thallium cartridges were found on him.
During the searching operations, an inspection was held at several shipyards, military units and vessels belonging to the Northern Fleet. It may seem a paradox, but all officially registered thallium cartridges were right in their places.
Where do the extra cartridges come from? No doubt, they originate from Russian submarines. People close to the problem say that the incident provoked a special collegium of Russia’s Ministry of Justice. Indeed, lawyers are to pay special attention to the precedent.
Article #234 of the Russian Criminal Code provides calls for imprisonment of up to eight years if the case can be characterized as “an organized crime," “large-scale fraud," or “crime in agreement." Experienced layers say that almost all members of the group are free now and are unlikely to be further imprisoned, as the case is really contradictory. The court will not probably find enough reasons to bring the people into criminal account for the thallium case. Thallium is not on the list of substances to which the article #234 can be applied. The article is called: “Illegal turnover of strong and poisonous substances for further re-sale.” At the same time, it is said in the comment to the Criminal Code: “Name of the article #234 is not good enough. It becomes clear when we compare the article with a similar one #228, in which all operations with poisonous substances are enumerated (production, storage, sale, transportation, etc.)” On the whole, layers have got enough problems to think over as concerning this very case.
A naval expert of PRAVDA.Ru and former submarine engineer suggested his own version of the incident based on his own experience. He says that thallium cartridges are components of AK-198 oxygen meters installed in water-chemical labs in the tenth compartment of practically all subs of 667 modification. The devices are designed to measure oxygen content in water circulating in steam-turbine plants. In beginning of the 1990s, control over the liquidation of worn out submarines was not tight enough, which is why some spare thallium could appear. Thanks God, Usama bin Laden does not seem to be connected with the thallium fraud. Passion for money-grubbing, so typical of Russians, seems to be the cause of the problem.
Thallium (lat. Tallium) is a silvery white metal with a grayish tint. Has no taste and smell; criminals try to profit from the characteristics because the poison is difficult to identify. Thallium poisoning is extremely dangerous, because it causes inflammations for which there is no cure. The poisoning appears to be flu or pneumonia, which is why doctors prescribe antibiotics that are certainly of no effect in this case. Symptoms of thallium poisoning are affection of nervous system, kidneys, stomach, and the loss of hair.”
Vitaly Bratkov Especially for PRAVDA.Ru Murmansk
In the photo: thallium was most likely stolen from a similar sub
Translated by Maria Gousseva
Read the original in Russian: http://pravda.ru/main/2002/05/30/41967.html