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Theft Thwarted Of Radioactive Scrap Metal From Chornobyl

The nuclear power plant at Chornobyl in 2006.
The nuclear power plant at Chornobyl in 2006.
CHORNOBYL -- Ukraine's State Security Service (SBU) has thwarted smugglers' efforts to remove some 25 tons of radioactive scrap metal from the Chornobyl disaster zone, RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service reports.

Four police officers were arrested in connection with the incident and an investigation is under way.

SBU spokeswoman Maryna Ostapenko said the impounded material's level of radioactivity is 13 times the allowable level.

An explosion in 1986 at Ukraine's infamous Chornobyl Nuclear Power Station left behind one of the worst radioactive-contamination zones in the world, forcing Soviet authorities to close it and evacuate all residents from nearby towns and villages.

The area has since been guarded by police and security forces.