Saturday, February 03, 2007

Nuclear Issues: IAEA reports 149 incidents of nuclear trafficking

The United Nations atomic watchdog agency has reported 149 incidents of illicit trafficking and other unauthorized activities involving nuclear and radioactive materials in 2006.

Of these, 15 involved the seizure of nuclear and radioactive materials from individuals who possessed them illegally, according to preliminary figures released by the UN International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Office of Nuclear Security.

"Some of these individuals were attempting to sell the material or smuggle it across national borders,"the IAEA said in a statement yesterday. "Six of these incidents involved nuclear materials. Five involved materials such as natural uranium, depleted uranium, and thorium and one involved high-enriched uranium (HEU)," it added.

The last case refers to Georgia, who in February last year reported that 79.5 grammes of uranium enriched to 89 per cent was seized from a group of criminals in the capital Tbilisi.

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