Cheat-Seeking Missles

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Enriched Uranium Bust In Slovakia

Two Slovaks and one Hungarian are in custody and half a kilo of weapons grade enriched uranium has been seized in Slovakia, potentially foiling a dirty bomb attack. Spiegel reports:
Police in Slovakia and Hungary have busted a black-market ring allegedly aiming to sell nuclear contraband on the eastern frontier of Europe, Slovak authorities said late Wednesday. Three people have been arrested for trying to sell 1 kilogram (2.2 pounds) of enriched uranium for for €680,000 ($1 million).

On Wednesday the Slovak police had also said the contraband was a full kilogram (2.2 pounds) of a "highly dangerous radioactive material," but on Thursday they amended the information to say it was just under half a kilogram of enriched uranium in powder form.

"It was possible to use it in various ways for terrorist attacks," said First Slovak Police Vice President Michal Kopcik.

The uranium originated from an ex-Soviet republic, he said, without going into detail, and police weren't sure yet who was trying to buy it.

Kopcik said the 481.4 grams of powder had been stashed in unspecified containers, and that investigators determined it had a 98.6 percent uranium-235 content. "Weapons-grade" uranium contains at least 85 percent uranium-235.

That's far short of the 25 kilos needed to manufacture an atomic bomb, but it would be enough to create an effective dirty bomb ... or worse, the thwarted sale could have been part of a stockpiling scheme by someone seeking to build a bomb.

Fox News reports the Uranium is Russian in origin, but there's nothing released yet on how it was acquired ... or more importantly, who was going to buy it.

With Europe a favorite target of Islamist rage, you have to wonder if similar deals have transacted unnoticed, so I would like very much to know what these three scumbags know. I trust the Slovak police will have the means (Geneva-approved nice, but not mandatory) to get it out of them.

If you play that dirty -- selling massive death for personal profit -- you lose the right to be treated decently.

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