Unguarded uranium – yellowcake for the taking, in Libya
‘Uranium’ stockpile uncovered in Libya, SMH, Richard Spencer, September 27, 2011 SABHA: International atomic agencies and Libya’s rebels say it will take weeks to safeguard at least 10,000 abandoned drums thought to contain uranium.
Piled up in warehouses outside the southern desert city of Sabha, the blue barrels were as frightening as any remnant of the Gaddafi regime. Some were marked radioactive, as were the open plastic bags alongside.
The powder they contained appeared to be yellowcake uranium from Niger. When they were discovered by advancing rebel forces last week, they were abandoned and unguarded in tumbledown warehouses protected only by a low wall….
post-Gaddafi Libya affords little or no protection to this vast haul of material which, if refined, is the essential element of a nuclear bomb.
The Telegraph in London reported last week that Iran, which is allegedly pursuing underground nuclear programs, had joined in the looting of Libyan weaponry.
There are at least 10,000 drums with a total capacity of 2 million litres, though most have not been opened and checked for their contents.
The International Atomic Energy Agency says it knew that Muammar Gaddafi had stockpiled yellowcake uranium near Sabha. It is a relic of the years when he tried to develop nuclear weapons using blueprints from Pakistani scientist A.Q.Khan……
A WikiLeaks cable disclosed that, two years ago, Gaddafi was trying to sell 1000 tonnes of yellowcake on the world market. No one expected such a valuable commodity to have been left dumped in the desert.
Rebels found the storage facility containing the radioactive drums unguarded. ”I don’t think it’s ever been guarded,” Musbah al-Mangoush, an agricultural engineer who fled the town three months ago and returned at the head of a brigade of troops from Benghazi, said….
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