Voice from the Commonwealth
Commentary, World Views and Occasional Rants from a small 'l' libertarian in Massachussetts

"If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest for freedom, go home and leave us in peace. We seek not your council nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen." - Samuel Adams

Friday, February 28, 2003

Russian Intelligence arrests someone trying to sell osmium-187.

Russia's Federal Security Service said Friday that it had thwarted a criminal gang's attempts to sell osmium-187, an isotope often portrayed as a valuable potential component in nuclear terrorism, and counterfeit Iraqi money.

Federal Security Service officers in the Siberian city of Omsk, about 2,250 kilometers (1,400 miles) east of Moscow, detained one person with an unspecified amount of osmium-187, said Natalya Grutsina, a spokeswoman for the Omsk branch of the security service, which is known by the Russian acronym FSB. Another person was detained with 158,000 Iraqi dinars (US$53.19) , which a preliminary analysis showed to be fake, she said.

The isotope is very expensive, bringing US$150,000-US$200,000 per gram (0.035 ounce), but international experts say it has no nuclear fission applications and is most useful as an object of criminal scams.

The ITAR-Tass news agency said that the suspects were trying to sell the osmium-187 and the fake currency to criminal gang members from Moscow. It said that they had put 1.14 grams (0.039 ounce) of osmium in a vial disguised as a pen and tried to sell it for US$30,000.

< email | 2/28/2003 12:30:00 PM | link

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