09TBILISI449, GEORGIA: CESIUM-137 SOURCES RECOVERED NEAR

WikiLeaks Link

To understand the justification used for the classification of each cable, please use this WikiSource article as reference.
Discussing cables
If you find meaningful or important information in a cable, please link directly to its unique reference number. Linking to a specific paragraph in the body of a cable is also possible by copying the appropriate link (to be found at theparagraph symbol).Please mark messages for social networking services like Twitter with the hash tags #cablegate and a hash containing the reference ID e.g. #09TBILISI449.
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09TBILISI449 2009-03-06 14:37 2011-08-30 01:44 SECRET Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO2250
PP RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHNP RUEHROV
DE RUEHSI #0449/01 0651437
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
P 061437Z MAR 09
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1121
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RHMFISS/US CUSTOMS AND BORDER PROTECTION WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHMFITT/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEANFA/NRC WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHMCSUU/FBI WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RULSDMK/NSA US WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHMFISS/DEPT OF ENERGY WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEHUNV/USMISSION UNVIE VIENNA PRIORITY 0042

S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 02 TBILISI 000449 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/05/2019 
TAGS: MNUC ASEC PARM PINR KNNP KCRM ZJ GG
SUBJECT: GEORGIA: CESIUM-137 SOURCES RECOVERED NEAR 
KOPITNARI AIRPORT 
 
REF: A. STATE 17212 
     B. TBILISI 00314 
 
Classified By: AMBASSADOR JOHN F. TEFFT FOR REASONS 1.4 B AND D 
 
1. (S) Summary. On Thursday, February 26, the recovery of 
four Cesium-137 sources, discovered near the 
Kutaisi-Samtredia central highway (ref B), was successfully 
accomplished by a joint MOIA and Nuclear and Radiation Safety 
Service (NRSS) team.  Officials from NRSS had assumed that 
there was just one source present, however, the team 
recovered four Cesium-137 sources.  They were safely 
transported to the storage facility in Mtskheta.  As 
requested ref A, additional details regarding the excavation 
and the sources are detailed below.  End summary. 
 
INITIAL RESPONSE 
 
2. (S) In response to the inadvertent detection of elevated 
radiation level against the background level off of the 
Kutaisi-Samtredia central highway near the town of Samtredia 
through the use of a USG-donated pager (mini rad-D, serial 
number 105786) by Georgian customs officers, NRSS sent two 
field missions, on February 10 and 12, in cooperation with 
local authorities and the Emergency Response Department of 
the Ministry of Interior.  The teams took measurements to 
identify the risk level, identified the safety area, 
installed indicators and informed the appropriate authorities 
of their findings.  An immediate removal without a special 
operation was deemed impossible due to the high dose rate of 
what was determined to be Cesium-137.  At this point, it was 
assumed to be just one source.  Relevant IAEA divisions were 
formally notified of the discovery. 
 
PLANNING AND RECOVERY 
 
3. (S) NRSS, jointly with the Emergency Services Department, 
elaborated a recovery operation plan.  They determined they 
would need fifteen to seventeen people to conduct the 
operation, and each person could be exposed to the source for 
no more than ten to twelve minutes.  The source was assumed 
to be in solid state, however, they did plan for the 
contingency that the source was not solid.  Necessary medical 
examinations of the recovery team and off-site training were 
held.  Due to both the need for planning and weather 
conditions, the recovery operation was delayed until February 
26.  They began the excavation at 1100 and concluded at 1445 
local time.  The recovery was accomplished by both machine 
and manual means.  A backhoe was used to initially excavate 
small amounts of dirt, which was then transferred onto a 
sheet and checked for elevated radiation levels.  If elevated 
levels were found, then the dirt was manually separated. 
During the operation, four separate Cesium-137 sources were 
discovered, compactly buried under approximately thirty 
centimeters of soil.  According to an NRSS official, it 
appeared that the sources had simply been discarded there. 
All were in solid state with no destruction.  No container 
was present, and all but one source was completely caked in 
mud.  The one not covered in mud was considered to be an odd 
shape, described as a bowler hat.  Each was onlya few 
centimeters in size.  Initial estimated measurements of 
activity indicate that one source had activity of about three 
Qactivity indicate that one source had activity of about three 
Ci and the three others were all less than one Ci.  The 
sources were transported by vehicle in a source storage 
container to the storage facility in Mtskheta.  Further 
analysis has not yet been conducted.  Officials promised to 
provide poloff with any details of analysis that is 
conducted, as well as pictures of the sources. 
 
LOCATION AND ORIGIN 
 
4. (S) The location of the site is four to five kilometers 
east of the town of Samtredia, twenty kilometers west of 
Kutaisi and fifty meters from the highway.  There have been 
no prior incidents of this nature near this site.  There is 
no permanent presence of humans in the immediate risk area 
and it was determined that there was no significant risk of 
past exposure at the location.  An aerial survey conducted 
together with the IAEA in 2000 covered this location, but 
showed no traces of the presence of the source at that time. 
In addition, the sources were discovered next to a 
transformer installed four to five years ago.  Due to these 
 
TBILISI 00000449  002 OF 002 
 
 
facts, NRSS officials estimated that the source was probably 
abandoned at this site about two or three years ago.  NRSS 
informed poloff that such cases with orphan sources are 
usually linked with former Sovie
t military equipment, or on 
rare occasion, with former industrial gauges.  However, at 
this time, they have no indication of the origin of the 
sources and are not optimistic that they will ever obtain 
such information.  It is not currently being handled as a 
criminal case. 
 
5. (U) Pictures of the site and recovery operation have been 
emailed to EUR/CARC.  Poloff will continue to follow-up on 
this incident and will report any further information. 
Please contact Nicole O'Brien on obriennl@state.sgov.gov with 
any questions. 
TEFFT

Wikileaks

Advertisements
Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: