Linky: Balls of lead? Standard Al Quesadilla dirty bomb using former Soviet nuclear whatnots scare story from the Torygraph: 'Dirty-bomb plot' thwarted as uranium seized By Duncan Hooper and agencies Last Updated: 3:55pm GMT 29/11/2007 Slovakian Police believe they may have thwarted a radioactive terror attack after seizing uranium of a high enough quality to build a "dirty bomb". Police show confiscated radioactive material Two Hungarians and a Ukrainian were arrested after being caught allegedly trying to sell a pound (0.5kg) of powdered uranium for £483,000. "It was possible to use it in various ways for terrorist attacks," Michal Kopcik, a senior police official, said. Security agencies have long worried that terrorists such as al-Qa'eda might attempt to acquire a dirty bomb - which uses conventional explosives to scatter radioactive debris. The authorities had been conducting a surveillance operation for weeks and had hoped to swoop on the prospective buyers once a deal was concluded. advertisement However, they were forced to act when the sale was delayed and are now working on uncovering for whom the delivery was intended. Initial analysis of the radioactive material, discovered near the border with Hungary, indicated that it was composed of 98.6 percent uranium-235. Uranium is considered weapons-grade if it contains at least 85 percent uranium-235. The material appears to have originated in one of the former Soviet Republics, according to the Slovak police. In Washington the arrests will be seen as a vindication of years of work with police in former Iron Curtain states, where a combination of a supply of nuclear materials and poor law enforcement have made US officials concerned that al-Qa'eda or other terrorist groups could acquire materials for a "dirty" nuclear bomb or something even more powerful. A spokesman for the FBI said: "The director has expressed his concern that al-Qa'eda is planning future attacks and we know they have actively sought weapons of mass destruction materials to attack the US." News of the seizure came as the New Scientist published details of a secret report by Swedish and Russian experts. They are said to have exposed "gaping holes" in arrangements to stop theft of plutonium and highly-enriched uranium from sites in northwest Russia. Specialists at the Swedish Nuclear Power Inspectorate (SKI) and Atombesopastnost, a subsidiary of Russia's Federal Atomic Energy Agency (Rosatom), found a large number of the 35 sites on the Kola peninsula to have "insufficient" security measures, it said. "The illicit trafficking problem is for real," the magazine quoted the report as saying. The investigation was completed earlier this year and was presented in summarised form last week at an International Atomic Energy Agency conference on nuclear smuggling in Edinburgh. A member of the Swedish investigative team confirmed the existence of the report but refused to give any immediate details about it. The Kola peninsula, which borders Norway and Finland, is thought to hold the highest volumes of radioactive waste in the world. The International Atomic Energy Agency watchdog has recorded 1,250 cases of smuggling and other crimes related to the handling of radioactive material since 1995. Nuclear material is often smuggled from the former Soviet Union. Police in Slovakia's former federation partner, the Czech Republic, found 6 lbs of high-enriched uranium in Prague in 1995, intended for illegal sale. In 2003, police in the Czech Republic arrested two Slovaks in a sting operation in the city of Brno after they allegedly sold undercover officers natural depleted uranium for US$715,000 However, I was startled to see the photo of this incredibly dangerous radioactive substance that accompanies the story. For those of you unable to view reationary web-sites, let me paint a picture with wurdz. Lead sample container: check. Lead-lined carrying case: check. Glass jar filled with evil substance: check. Some fellers' hand holding the fcuking jar: check? Dunno if it's just me over-reacting, but the thought of getting within arms-length of this stuff makes my goolies shrivel just thinking about it. Are all Slovak coppers balls made of lead then? Bad miss on their part for not picking up the buyers as well. On that note, I have a couple of old tritium source compasses in the loft so I'll open the bidding at $1 million or £25 (whichevers' higher tomorrow).