The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA has said a massive amount of uranium has gone missing from a Libyan site, triggering radiation fears. According to the UN’s nuclear watchdog, 10 drums containing approximately 2.5 tons of natural uranium is no longer accounted for at the site.
The missing nuclear material may present a radiological risk, a confidential report by the IAEA said, Agence France-Presse reported. The report says that uranium ore concentrate emits low levels of radioactivity.
Uranium Ore Concentrate
The missing uranium consignment is in the form of uranium ore concentrate, the report said. The report adds that the site where the uranium was previously declared to be present is no longer under the control of the state authority of Libya. The country has witnessed a prolonged power struggle and civil war in the aftermath of the overthrow of the Gaddafi regime in the last decade.
The IAEA assured that it will assess circumstances under which the uranium stockpile was removed from the site as well as try to determine the current location of the material.
Libya under Gaddafi had a suspected nuclear weapons programme, but Tripoli scrapped the pursuit in 2003. Under the deal Gaddafi, who wanted the North African country to see the end of its pariah status, allowed international weapons inspectors at Libya’s nuclear sites. The IAEA had assessed that Libya had secretly produced weapons grade nuclear material as well.
Gaddafi was deposed during the 2011 Arab Spring protests and was eventually killed, throwing the country into disarray, with various militias vying with each other to take control of territories.