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Thursday, January 25, 2007

Turkish officials bust peddlers of Russia-origin uranium in Istanbul

Sting operation nets smuggled uranium
Two men were arrested in Istanbul while trying to sell uranium of Russian origin in a sting operation conducted by Turkish special police, Russian media reported Wednesday.
The men’s names and nationalities were not released by Turkish authorities, but they where taken into custody while trying to hock a glass tube containing 173 grams of uranium-235 and uranium-238 for a price tag of $7m to Turkish law enforcement agents posing as potential buyers.
The detainees said they had smuggled the uranium from Russia, the mosnews.ru Web site reported Wednesday. Turkish authorities fear the substance was eventually headed for terrorist hands.

Georgian Sting Seizes Bomb Grade Uranium
WASHINGTON - Republic of Georgia authorities, aided by the CIA, set up a sting operation last summer that led to the arrest of Russian man who tried to sell a small amount of nuclear-bomb grade uranium in a plastic bag in his jacket pocket, U.S. and Georgian officials said.

The operation, which neither government has publicized, represents one of the most serious cases of smuggling of nuclear material in recent years, according to analysts and officials.

The arrest underscored concerns about the possibility of terrorists acquiring nuclear bomb-making material on the black market, although there was no suggestion that this particular case was terrorist-related.
"Given the serious consequences of the detonation of an improvised nuclear explosive device, even small numbers of incidents involving HEU (highly enriched uranium) or plutonium are of very high concern," said Melissa Fleming of the U.N.'s International Atomic Energy Agency.

Details of the investigation, which also involved the FBI and Energy Department, were provided to The Associated Press by U.S. officials and Georgian Interior Minister Vano Merabishvili.

Uranium - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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