Thursday, August 20, 2009

Radiation Fears Halt Freight Traffic

Rail freight between Ukraine and Slovakia stopped
Shipping News Feature

UKRAINE / SLOVAKIA - Ukraine's national rail company, Ukrzaliznytsya, halted all freight train traffic to Slovakia on Sunday claiming to be concerned about the health of engineers exposed to radiation whilst being scanned by Slovak customs.

Management for Ukraine Rail said in a statement that they would allow freight traffic to resume only after Slovak border personnel stopped scanning engines and train cars with Ukrainian railroad workers aboard, or began using a less dangerous scanning device. They claim that the current apparatus, the TINSCAN RF6010, exposes their workers to far higher levels of radiation than is allowed under Ukrainian law.

According to Ukraine’s Channel 5 news, dozens of freight trains were stuck in sidings at the border while service was disrupted until the Slovak Border Agency agreed to stop using the scanners. Traffic resumed at about 18.30 on Wednesday.

Slovak border inspectors began using the TINSCAN machine in early January to inspect train cars and engines hauling freight from Ukraine into the European Union as part of a program to cut down on the smuggling of illegal goods and immigrants.

Passenger services were not effected.