2.5 tons of uranium have gone missing in Libya, creating radiological risk and nuclear security concerns

Thursday, March 16, 2023 | Tag Cloud

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by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent

(Worthy News) – Around 2.5 tons of natural uranium have disappeared from a location in Libya and, as they are no longer under the Libyan government’s control, present radiological risks and nuclear security concerns, the UN nuclear watchdog told member states on Wednesday.

In a confidential statement seen by the Reuters media outlet, the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said its inspectors had discovered on Tuesday that “10 drums containing approximately 2.5 tons of natural uranium in the form of UOC (uranium ore concentrate) previously declared by (Libya) … as being stored at that location were not present at the location.”

Penned by IAEA chief Rafael Grossi, the one-page statement said an official inspection of the Libya site was scheduled for last year, but had been postponed due to the security situation in the region.”

The IAEA will seek to discover who took the uranium and where it is now, Grossi said in the statement. “The loss of knowledge about the present location of nuclear material may present a radiological risk, as well as nuclear security concerns,” Grossi added.

Libya gave up its nuclear weapons program in 2003, i24 News notes. The war-torn north African country had got as far as obtaining centrifuges for enriching uranium but had made little progress toward manufacturing an atomic bomb.

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