About 2.5 tons of uranium ore concentrate disappeared from a deposit in Libya. Inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) discovered this week that the material stored in 10 drums was no longer where it was intended, an IAEA spokesman confirmed during the night.
"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 the spokesman in Vienna. The IAEA Board of Governors has been informed.
Uranium Ore Concentrate is weakly radioactive. However, no nuclear chain reaction can be triggered in the material. In order to use the concentrate for nuclear power plants or even for nuclear weapons, it would first have to be processed in complex technical systems in a series of steps.
Chaos and political instability reign in Libya because of the long civil war. In 2003, the North African country abandoned its secret nuclear weapons development program. Under the then ruler Muammar al-Gaddafi, more than 2000 tons of uranium ore concentrate were imported from neighboring Niger in the 1970s and 80s.