Middle East

2.5 tons of uranium disappeared in Libya

Ten barrels of uranium are "not where they should be". This was announced by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) after a review in Libya.

Nuclear weapons can also be built from nuclear material.

According to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), around 2.5 tons of uranium have disappeared from a deposit in Libya. The natural uranium is “not where it should be, according to the authorities,” according to a letter from IAEA chief Rafael Grossi to the member states of the UN organization.

Ten barrels of “Yellowcake” gone

During an inspection on Tuesday, IAEA inspectors found that ten barrels containing around 2.5 tons of so-called yellowcake in the form of uranium ore were missing, the letter said. It was not disclosed where exactly the review took place in Libya. According to the letter, the plant in the civil war country is no longer under state control.

Further checks should now provide information. “The Atomic Energy Agency will take further steps to clarify under what circumstances the nuclear material was removed and where it is currently located,” said an IAEA spokesman. The IAEA Board of Governors has been informed.

“Yellowcake” is uranium compounds in the form of yellow-orange, coarse powder. Uranium Ore Concentrate is weakly radioactive. However, no nuclear chain reaction can be triggered in the material. It can be used in a further processed form for nuclear power plants and in a higher enriched form for the construction of nuclear weapons. However, this would require a series of complex steps in special technical systems.

Civil war since 2014

Libya gave up its secret program to develop nuclear weapons in 2003 under longtime ruler Muammar al-Gaddafi. Chaos and political instability have reigned since his fall in 2011, and the country has repeatedly been shaken by severe violence.

Since 2014, Libya has been divided between rival civil war factions in the east and west. The militias are also financed from abroad, such as Turkey on the one hand, the United Arab Emirates and Russia on the other.

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