Date: 2003-13 November 2003
Location: Kola Harbor, near Polyarny, Russia
Type of event: orphaned sources
On 12 November 2003, inspectors found the radiothermal generator at navigation lighthouse 414.1 in Olenya Bay, Kola Harbor, had been dismantled. Most of the shielding had been stolen, including the depleted uranium radiation shield. One radioisotope heat source was found nearby in the water 2-3 meters deep. The following day inspectors found a similar situation at lighthouse 437 on Yuzhny Goryachinsky Island, Kola Harbor. Again, the shielding had been stolen, including the depleted uranium shielding, and one source was recovered near the island's north shore. Both RTGs were BETA-M RTGs, each containing 35,000-curie strontium-90 sources (5 kg each). Without the shielding, the dose rate is 800-1000 roentgens/hour at a distance of 2-5 cm from the sources; the sources generate 230 W of heat. Both cases appear to have involved individuals seeking to steal metal to sell as scrap. It is probable that the perpetrators incurred radiation injury or even a fatal dose; no success was reported in attempts to track down the perpetrators.
Consequences: At least 1 injury presumed.
© 2005 by Wm. Robert Johnston.
Last modified 8 April 2005.
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