2.5 TONS of Uranium Went Missing

2.5 TONS of Uranium Went Missing

(ConservativeInsider.org) – With the current tensions around the globe, many people feel on edge when thinking about the potential for someone like Russian President Vladimir Putin to use nuclear weapons. Those fears rose a bit on Wednesday, March 15, when the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reported it was unable to locate 2.5 tons of natural uranium at a site in Libya. Here’s what happened.

IAEA Reports Missing Uranium

The IAEA had planned on inspecting the Libyan site in 2022, but that interaction was delayed due to a “security situation,” according to Reuters. Inspectors finally made it to the difficult-to-reach site on Tuesday, March 14, and were unable to locate 10 drums of uranium Libya had declared in the past. According to the statement viewed by Reuters journalists, the IAEA noted there was both a “radiological risk” and “nuclear security concerns” with the missing minerals.

The missing uranium was ore concentrate, which had not yet been refined to the weapons-grade purity necessary to make nuclear weapons. According to ABC News, it takes one ton of natural ore to get 12 pounds of weapon-ready uranium — if the country has the equipment to do so, which usually includes centrifuges.

Military Forces Find Uranium

On Thursday, March 16, the Libyan National Army (LNA) announced it found the missing uranium in barrels a few miles away from the warehouse. According to Reuters, the Libyan National Army’s Media Unit Leader Khaled Mahjoub declared the find, but he shared a video of someone allegedly counting 18 barrels, rather than just ten the IAEA said could not be located. Mahjoub continued by speculating people crossed over the border from Chad to raid the warehouse in search of military equipment but left the uranium when they did not know what to do with it.

As of Thursday, March 16, the IAEA has not officially verified that these are, in fact, the missing uranium barrels.

This is all occurring in a split nation that has been unstable since 2011 and divided since 2014. On the eastern side is the LNA led by General Khalifa Haftar, which announced the find, while the west has an interim government in the nation’s capital of Tripoli. All the while, various other actors have tried to influence the nation by sending support, such as Russia’s Wagner Group and Islamic State fighters. All in all, most people would agree that Libya is currently a very unstable country, and losing this much uranium poses quite a threat if it ends up in the hands of the wrong group.

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