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South Africa’s Pelindaba nuclear plant and theft of nuclear material

Pelindaba was involved in another mysterious incident in 2007, when its highly guarded operations center was broken into by two armed gangs. One official was shot during the attack, which some believe was aimed at stealing highly enriched uranium. The case remains unsolved…….

South Africa’s ‘dirty bomb’ mystery, The Washington Post, Jeff Stein, 20 July 2010, If dirty bombs are such an overblown threat, and radioactive material so easily available, why are people still trying to steal it?South African police are investigating what the five mokes busted with a Cesium-137 device at a Pretoria gas station last week were up to.All of them are South African citizens, but not much else is known about them, police said

…….Authorities said the “industrial nuclear device” found with the men contained a small amount of radioactive material. The men intended to sell the device to parties unknown for 45 million Rand, the equivalent of $6 million to $7 million. Police said the men were also planning to sell a larger nuclear device, which police are searching for, according to South African reports.

“We don’t know what these suspects’ intentions were, and we need to find the device quickly,” police said, according to Canada’s online Digital Journal.

Likewise, South African authorities told SpyTalk over the weekend that “the origin of the device is still not known.”

South African reporter Graeme Hosken says the substance was of a type of Cesium used in South Africa’s mining industry. Cesium is also used in nuclear medicine and is manufactured in significant quantities at the Pelindaba nuclear plant near Pretoria.

Pelindaba was involved in another mysterious incident in 2007, when its highly guarded operations center was broken into by two armed gangs. One official was shot during the attack, which some believe was aimed at stealing highly enriched uranium. The case remains unsolved…………

The Washington Post’s Joby Warrick reported in 2002 that “U.S. businesses and medical facilities have lost track of nearly 1,500 pieces of equipment with radioactive parts since 1996. …”

Security of the materials has been tightened since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, but experts say determined thieves wouldn’t have a hard time obtaining them.

SpyTalk – South Africa’s ‘dirty bomb’ mystery

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July 20, 2010 - Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties, South Africa | , , , , , ,

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