Pakistan seeks probe into seizure of ‘Californium’ in India

Pakistan has reiterated its demand for a thorough investigation into reports of theft and illegal possession of radioactive material in India days after two people were arrested for possessing Californium.

Indian authorities last week arrested two suspects from the city of Kolkata for illegally possessing radioactive substances worth over $573 million, the senior Crime Investigation Department (CID) officer had said.

“We have noted with serious concern yet another report of theft and illicit sale of radioactive material in India. In the latest incident, as per media reports, two persons were arrested for illegal possession of Californium which is a highly radioactive and toxic substance,” Foreign Office Spokesperson Asim Iftikhar Ahmad said in a statement on Monday.

He said it is a matter of grave concern for the international community that an extremely rare sealed radioactive source (SRS) material like Californium could be stolen. “As in the previous cases, the arrested individuals apparently got hold of the radioactive material by purchasing it from inside India.”

Also read: Two arrested in India with radioactive substances worth over $570 million

This is the third such occurrence in India in the last four months.

Earlier, media reports had highlighted separate seizures in May and June 2021 of over 7kg and more than 6kg of Uranium from unauthorised persons in India, the statement said.

The communiqué said the repeated incidents raise serious concerns about the safety and security of nuclear and other radioactive materials in India, and the possible existence of a black market for such materials inside the country.

“It also indicates the lax arrangements inside India to secure imported SRS material. Pakistan reiterates its call for a thorough investigation and adequate measures to prevent their recurrence,” it added.

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