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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
04YEREVAN2450
2004-11-08 09:15:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Yerevan
Cable title:  

ARMENIA: UPDATE ON CESIUM-137 CONFISCATED FROM

Tags:   PINR  KNNP  MNUC  PARM  KCRM  PTER  ASEC  AM  KPRP 
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						C O N F I D E N T I A L YEREVAN 002450 

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR EUR/CACEN, INR, NP/ECC, EUR/ACE, CBP/INA, NP/PTR,
EUR/RUS, EUR/RPM, DS, IO/T, INR/SPM, S/CT, S/P, S/S-O

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/08/2014
TAGS: PINR KNNP MNUC PARM KCRM PTER ASEC AM KPRP
SUBJECT: ARMENIA: UPDATE ON CESIUM-137 CONFISCATED FROM
ARMENIAN NATIONAL

REF: (A) YEREVAN 2331 (B) STATE 235088

Classified By: DCM A.F. Godfrey for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).

--------------------------------------------- -------------
NSS HAS NOT COMPLETED ITS INVESTIGATION, NO NEWS AVAILABLE
--------------------------------------------- -------------



1. (C) As reported in ref A, Ashot Martirosyan, Head of the
Armenian Nuclear Regulatory Agency (ANRA), verified on
October 19 that approximately two curies of radioactive
cesium-137 was seized from an Armenian citizen Gagik
Tovmasyan on October 15.



2. (C) On November 5, we met again with Martirosyan and
underscored the USG's intense interest in this issue (ref B).
Martirosyan told us that the Armenian National Security
Service (NSS) was still leading the investigation and stated
they could not share any information with ANRA until they
finished their investigation. The NSS did tell Martirosyan
that the source's radiation strength was measured at
approximately one half roentgen. Martirosyan explained that
this was considered a high level of radiation, and out of the
approximately 80 registered sources of cesium 137 in Armenia,
none matched this source strength. Martirosyan could not
discount the possibility that this source had escaped ANRA's
registration. Martirosyan believed, however, that the source
probably came from outside of Armenia, most likely from
Russia. Martirosyan would not speculate as to why Tovmasyan
may have brought the cesium to Armenia and to whom he wanted
to sell it. The NSS reportedly told Martirosyan that
Tovmasyan refused to admit where he had obtained the cesium.



3. (C) Martirosyan did not believe political factors would
impede the investigation and pointed out that the NSS almost
immediately reported the seizure of the cesium to the
Armenian mass media. Martirosyan told us that under Armenian
law, it is illegal to own or transport radioactive materials
without a license. He believed that the maximum prison
sentence was about 5 years. Martirorsyan stated that to his
knowledge, no one had been convicted of this crime previously
in Armenia.
EVANS