FREIGHT trains arriving at the Ukrainian-Slovak railway border crossing in Maťovce are now undergoing complete x-ray scans. The restrictions that were in place up to December 15 have now been lifted, the SITA newswire reported.
The results of expert measurements performed by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) confirmed the safety of the x-ray scanning device earlier this month.
The device helps to identify the nature of the goods in the railcars and can detect illegal or undeclared goods as well as people. Since the scanner went into operation it has found illegal smuggling of 1,740,000 cigarettes, representing nearly €200,000 in evaded customs duties and taxes.
The scanning device was switched off in August for almost a month after the Ukrainian government claimed that the device produced high levels of radiation and was harmful to Ukrainian locomotive engineers.
The dispute caused big problems for several Slovak companies that were dependent on supplies of raw materials from Ukraine when that country stopped its trains from crossing the border for several days.
After experts from both Ukraine and Slovakia conducted assessments that revealed that the scanner posed no health risk to engine drivers or the general public, the x-ray device was put into operation again but the engine and the first three freight cars were inspected manually, as Slovakia was temporarily prevented from scanning the whole trains.
Now the device is scanning the locomotive engine and all cars of trains entering from Ukraine.
21. Dec 2009 at 0:00 | Compiled by Spectator staff