Nuclear Material Theft and Smuggling

According to reports during the last twenty years, approximately
40 kg of uranium and plutonium have been missing from sites in
Russia and the former USSR republics.

A number of these thefts have been documented:

  • 1.5 kg of enriched uranium were missing from Russia's Luch facility
  • In 1993 3 kg of enriched uranium disappeared from an institute in Moscow
  • Radioactive materials disappeared from a warehouse in Chelyabinsk the amount
    was not known
  • In 2003 the deputy director of the company Atomflots was arrested after he tried
    according to reports to sell containers of uranium-235, uranium-238, radon-226 and
    lead-214
  • In 2005 two men were arrested in Istanbul when they tried to sell Russian uranium
  • In 2011 eight cylinders with 73.5 kg of uranium ore were stolen from a radioactive
    materials storage depot in the north of Romania
  • In 2011 Moldovan police reportedly arrested six members of a criminal group for
    trying to sell one kilogram of uranium-235 for about $38 million
  • In 2012 a large amount of uranium was seized in Bolivia
  • In 2012 seven individuals were reportedly arrested in Moldova for allegedly
    trafficking hand grenades, Kalashnikov assault rifles, rocket-propelled grenade
    launchers and containers of uranium-235
  • In 2014 smugglers attempted to sell 200 g of allegedly Russian uranium-235 for $1.6 million
  • In 2014 1.5 kg of uranium-235 was seized close to the Moldovan border