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Russia raises awareness of Libya’s unguarded yellowcake uranium

Russia implores UN to take control of Libya’s ‘unguarded’ yellowcake uranium, Rt.com.   November 05, 2013  Russia has asked the UN Security Council to look into the dangers posed by a badly-guarded stockpile of yellowcake uranium in the Libyan Desert. Recent reports have said that Al-Qaeda is interested in the supply as a potential nuclear weapon component.

“I have spoken with UN General Secretary Ban Ki-moon about the issue, and asked him to take it up with the United Nations mission in Libya,” Russia’s UN envoy, Vitaly Churkin, told ITAR-TASS news agency from New York. 

“I also said we would mention the problem at Security Council consultations, and we have done so.”
 

Churkin also said that the head of United Nations Support Mission in Libya, Tarek Mitri, spoke with Prime Minister Ali Zeidan, who promised to focus on the issue. The Russian diplomat also said that a special inter-ministerial committee was set up in Tripoli to deal with the matter.

The UN envoy also stressed that Libya remains an issue of “concern” as it acts as a source of proliferation of weapons and materials related to the production of weapons of mass destruction throughout the region. ….. An estimated 6,400 barrels of yellowcake uranium were discovered near the Muammar Gaddafi stronghold of Sabha towards the end of the uprising that resulted in the ruler’s death in October 2011.

Yellowcake is a powder obtained through the milling, chemical processing, drying, and filtering of uranium ore. Yellowcake is generally used to produce commercial nuclear materials, such as fuel elements in nuclear reactors that use un-enriched uranium. Known for its yellow color during early mining operations, yellowcake can be further processed into enriched uranium. It can yield weapons-grade uranium if enriched to 90 percent after a series of complex operations.

The UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has performed an inventory of the stock – which is kept in an ordinary warehouse, next to an estimated 4,000 surface-to-air missiles previously procured from Russia – and technically maintains control over it.
Yet a report from a visiting journalist in the UK’s Times newspaper last month alleged that the stockpile was in the control of a local weapons dealer, and his men did not even guard the warehouse for fear of suffering radiation poisoning. ……http://rt.com/news/libya-yellowcake-un-control-212/

November 6, 2013 - Posted by | Libya, safety

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