Dirty bomb fears over worlds most insecure uranium

More than two tons of radioactive material stored in a rundown research facility in Serbia is an easy target for terrorists seeking to build a "dirty" bomb, according the United Nations' nuclear watchdog.

Nuclear inspectors have branded the lightly-guarded store of highly enriched uranium, from a Communist-era reactor which closed 22 years ago, the world's most dangerous disused nuclear site – because of the potency of the material present, and because some is prone to leaking.

He said: "Vinca is unique in the amount of uranium stored within its facility – at least 2.5 metric tonnes – and the fact that about 30 per cent of it is leaking. It would be easily accessible to an organised group.

"There are other sites in Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary, as well as elsewhere in the world, but the amount of nuclear material, the accessibility and the leakage makes Vinca the most dangerous. It requires immediate action."

Much of the uranium is said by officials to be stored in a 75ft pool, filled with murky water, in the institute's reactor building. Other nuclear material stored at the site includes plutonium and highly radioactive spent fuel by-products.

This week, the IAEA will appeal to international donors for funds to pay for decommissioning the site and moving the most dangerous material to Russia for disposal. A joint project by the IAEA, the Vinca institute and the Serbian authorities to secure the material has stalled for lack of funds.

Article in full


Similar threads

Latest Threads