Russian nuclear scientists busted for plot to acquire Bitcoins, reports say

Several scientists working at a highly-guarded Russian facility that produced the Soviet Union’s first nuclear bomb reportedly have been arrested after trying to use one of the supercomputers there to acquire Bitcoins.

The scientists’ were caught after the computer – which is supposed to be disconnected from the Internet to prevent intrusions – went online, the BBC reported, citing Russian media.

"There has been an unsanctioned attempt to use computer facilities for private purposes including so-called mining," said a statement from the Federal Nuclear Centre in Sarov.

Popular cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin don’t rely on a set of centralized servers but instead get the power for transactions from a network of computers around the globe. Those who donate processing power can be rewarded with Bitcoins, the BBC reports.

"As far as we are aware, a criminal case has been launched against them," the Interfax News Agency was quoted as saying.

The Federal Nuclear Centre has a supercomputer with a capacity of 1 petaflop, good for about 1,000 trillion calculations per second, according to the BBC.

The town of Sarov is guarded with barbed-wire fences and special permits are the only way to get inside.