AUGUST 13, 2020

ATTEMPTED THEFTS PREVENTED AT NUCLEAR SITES

Few reports on crimes prevented at nuclear sites were released in June-July 2020. In June 2020, Sarov City Court arrested the deputy chief engineer of Russian Federal Nuclear Center for the large-scale fraud.

The deputy chief engineer was responsible for capital construction projects within the framework of federal target programs, as well as maintenance of buildings and infrastructure. This included design, equipment supply, construction and installation works.

In 2019, in a criminal conspiracy with a group of people, he tried to steal 145.9 million Rubles (almost $2 million USD) allocated for the purchase of equipment. However, internal inspection revealed and prevented the fraud.

On July 2020, Atomguard, the Rosatom agency pro-force, reported on attempt of theft of silver scrap from the Pilot and Demonstration Center for Decommissioning of Uranium-Graphite Nuclear Reactors located at a site of Siberian Chemical Combine in Seversk.

The guard detained an electrician of the enterprise, who was trying to pass the access control point with scrap metal weighing 456 grams. The spectral analysis showed that the seized metal contain more than 86% silver. A criminal case was initiated against the detained employee.

While both cases do not involve nuclear or radioactive materials, they highlight threats to nuclear sites from insiders with different level of authority, e.g. theft by personnel authorized to access secured items and disruption of construction projects at sites, including affecting nuclear security, by corrupted managers.

In fact, the case of fraud described above is not the first case of crime committed by personnel working in Russian Federal Nuclear Center. On February, 2018, two programmers were accused of mining cryptocurrency at the centers' supercomputer. Detection of insiders show that security officials of Russian Federal Nuclear Center and law enforcement authorities work to detest and prosecute insiders. On the other hand, these cases show that preventative measures taken against insider threat may need improvement.

Sources:
  1. "An employee of the nuclear center in Sarov arrested for a fraud case", June 26, 2020
  2. "Atomguard personnel prevented the theft of silver scrap", July 11, 2020