Serbian police found a radioactive object on travelers at the Serbian border crossing in Bezdan. It was discovered in the trunk when the three Croats wanted to leave Serbia for their homeland in their car. The police arrested the three and brought them to court in the border town of Sombor.
Those arrested are suspected of illegally transporting and storing dangerous substances, state television RTS reported on Tuesday, citing the Ministry of the Interior. The incident had already happened last Saturday.
Part of lightning rod
The three Croats attracted attention with their cargo when special detectors at the Bezdan border crossing hit the radioactive material. Employees of the Serbian nuclear research institute Vinca near Belgrade took the item, it said. According to Croatian media, the object was the tip of a lightning rod.
Technology banned since 2014, effectiveness never proven
Until the 1980s, radioactive lightning rods were common in France, Belgium and what was then Yugoslavia. In Serbia, which emerged from the breakup of Yugoslavia, they were largely removed in 2014 and their possession banned. But even years later, hundreds of this type of lightning rods were still installed in several cities in Serbia.
The ends of the devices usually had radioactive plaques on them. These are supposed to “charge” the air around the tip of the lightning rod by emitting ionizing radiation, directing the lightning at the conductor. However, the effectiveness of this principle could never be proven.
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