Missing uranium found

The drums of ‘yellowcake’ were stolen and then abandoned by Chadian militias.

BENGHAZI, Libya (AFP) — Several containers of natural uranium reported missing by the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog in war-scarred Libya have been found, a general with one of the country’s two rival camps said Thursday.

General Khaled al-Mahjoub, commander of eastern strongman Khalifa Haftar’s communications division, said on his Facebook page that the containers of uranium had been recovered “barely five kilometers” from where they had been stored in the Sabha area of southern Libya.

“The situation is under control. The IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) has been informed,” Mahjoub told Agence France-Presse.

Mahjoub published a video showing a man in a protective suit counting 18 blue containers, the total that had been stored at the site.

The general suggested the containers had been stolen and then abandoned by “a Chadian faction who thought they were weapons or ammunition.”

On Wednesday the IAEA in Vienna reported that 2.5 tons of natural uranium had gone missing from a Libyan site.

On Facebook, Mahjoub said that after the inspection revealed the disappearance, Haftar-linked forces recovered the containers.

The substance is commonly known as “yellowcake,” a powder consisting of around 80 percent uranium oxide. It is used in the preparation of nuclear fuel for reactors, and can also be enriched for use in nuclear weapons.

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