Proliferation News
» September 27, 2011

Investigators Suspect Crime Ring Was Trying to Sell Weapons-Grade Uranium in North Africa

Desmond Butler | Associated Press

Moldova HEU

Investigators following up on a nuclear sting in eastern Europe suspect that a crime syndicate was trying to sell weapons-grade uranium to buyers in North Africa.

Officials in Moldova, a former Soviet republic, told The Associated Press that 1 kilogram (2.2 pounds) of highly enriched uranium remains in criminal hands and is probably in another country.

Though that is a fraction of what is needed for a bomb, the investigation has provided fresh evidence of a black market in nuclear material probably taken from poorly secured stockpiles in the former Soviet Union.

U.S. authorities have been aiding the Moldovans in the international search for a Russian believed to be the ringleader of the smuggling operation. They also are searching for a North African man who they believe attempted to buy the uranium in Moldova before fleeing the country. Full Article   

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