According to Watchdog, tons of Gaddafi’s uranium have disappeared in Libya

Anis Mili/Reuters

Ten barrels of uranium ore have disappeared from a location in Libyaaccording to the inspectors of the United Nations.

Around two and a half tons of the material were missing during an inspection of the storage site this week International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said on Thursday. Although natural uranium cannot be used immediately in a bomb, a group with the technology needed to enrich the metal could create about 12 pounds of weapons-grade material, experts say.

Russia’s Wagner mercenaries have moved into Libya. Good luck with it.

In a statement, the IAEA said of Tuesday’s inspection that “safety agency inspectors have determined that 10 barrels containing approximately 2.5 tons of natural uranium in the form of uranium ore concentrate were not present at a location in the state of Libya as previously reported.” “Further activities are being conducted by the Agency to clarify the circumstances surrounding the removal of the core material and its current location.”

Although the IAEA did not provide further details on where the uranium was stored or how it might have disappeared, the Associated Press suggested that the “previously declared” site could be Sabha. The site in the Sahara Desert about 410 miles southeast of Tripoli is currently outside the control of the Libyan government.

dictator Muammar Gaddafi previously he stored thousands of barrels of yellowcake uranium in Sabha as part of his secret nuclear weapons program. The material was planned for use in a uranium conversion plant that never materialized. Gaddafi revealed the existence of his weapons program after the 2003 invasion of Iraq, and inspectors removed the last batch of enriched uranium in 2009 – two years earlier Gaddafi was killed in the process Arabic spring.

But the yellowcake uranium was untouched, and the UN estimated in 2013 that 6,400 barrels remained in Sabha. Scott Roecker of the non-profit Nuclear Threat Initiative said so BBC that the material “cannot be fabricated into a nuclear weapon” in its “current form” but said it could be used as “feedstock” needed for a weapons program.

“If you remove this material from this place, you have to really want it,” Roecker said. “Maybe it was stolen by someone who wants to make a profit out of it? There are many scenarios for this.”

Since Gaddafi’s fall, Libya has been plagued by political instability and civil war. The self-proclaimed Libyan National Army commanded by Khalifa Hiftar has fought against an interim government in Tripoli, though neither controls the southern region from which the uranium was lost.

News of the missing ore comes after UN nuclear investigators found enriched uranium particles at a facility in New York Iran.

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