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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

2 Arrested For Radioactive Sale

ST. PETERSBURG -- Two employees from one of Russia's nuclear-powered ships in the port of Murmansk were arrested while trying to sell radioactive material in St. Petersburg, police said Wednesday.

A spokesman for the anti-organized crime unit in St. Petersburg said the highly toxic material, known as californium-252, was used in Russia's nuclear-powered ice-breaker fleet, which clears arctic waterways.

Officials realized the californium had disappeared only recently, but it could have been stolen several months ago and held while the suspects searched for a buyer, he said.

He said the two were offering the material for $50,000, but the amount they were selling was not clear.

Russia has been rife with reports of smuggling of nuclear and other toxic materials since the weakening of safeguards with the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991.