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China men tried over uranium sale

User ID: 287586
08/24/2007 04:02 AM
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China men tried over uranium sale
[link to news.bbc.co.uk]

Four men are on trial in southern China for attempting to illegally sell eight kilogrammes of uranium.
The defendants were arrested in January and are accused of trying to find buyers for two types of uranium that can be used for nuclear weapons.

Investigators are searching for the uranium, which is believed to have been handed out to potential buyers.

The court in Guangzhou said it would not give a verdict in the trial until the uranium had been found.

Health risk

The uranium is alleged to have been bought from a uranium mine owner in April 2005 for 200,000 yuan ($26,400, £13,220) per kilogramme.

The four are then accused of attempting to find buyers for it - meeting one businessman who eventually turned them into the police.

The China Daily newspaper says the men were trying to sell uranium types U-235 and U-238, which can be used to make nuclear weapons.

Officials said the uranium would not explode in its raw form, but that it posed a health risk to people who came into contact with it.

According to investigators, the four men said they did not know where the uranium was as it had been circulated between a number of possible buyers.

The Tianhe District Court in Guangzhou said a verdict would not be given until the uranium had been found.

The illegal trade of uranium can, in exceptional cases, carry the death sentence, the China Daily reports.
T0XiK (OP)
User ID: 287586
08/24/2007 04:05 AM
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Re: China men tried over uranium sale
its probability on its way to pakistan to be refined then over to the states for the big bang
T0XiK (OP)
User ID: 287586
08/24/2007 04:41 AM
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Re: China men tried over uranium sale
[link to www.news.com.au]

BHP Billiton has been ordered to audit its stocks of uranium samples after being embarrassed by the apparent theft and recovery of 3kg of the radioactive material, which is used to make nuclear fuel and weapons.

Ten glass jars of unprocessed uranium oxide, also known as yellowcake, were discovered on Monday night at the mining camp outside BHP's giant Olympic Dam copper and uranium mine in outback South Australia.

Police are investigating the find amid rumours the jars were found in someone's room at the camp that houses 1350 workers.

While the samples posed no immediate health risk, with radiation near normal "background levels," the incident casts doubt over the security of Australia's uranium-handling procedures when the country is gearing up to supply it to nuclear-armed China.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, which has ordered BHP to count its stocks, yesterday said the quantity was too small to present a weapons proliferation risk.

About 70 tonnes of uranium oxide is needed to make enough nuclear material for a weapon, and it would need complex processing that is not done in Australia.

Ron Huisken of the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre at the Australian National University in Canberra said the incident would weigh on Australia's reputation as a secure handler of uranium. "It isn't a good look," he said.

The Australian Conservation Foundation said the occurrence highlighted the limitations of safeguards aimed at preventing nuclear material falling into the wrong hands.

It also cast doubt over the effectiveness of the tracking systems that Australia will rely on to ensure uranium sold to China does not end up feeding the country's nuclear arsenal, the ACF said.

The uranium samples had been sent for testing to a US nuclear fuel processor, Honeywell, and were being returned.

But it is unclear when the box of jars went missing, whether it was at Roxby Downs airport, enroute to the mine site, or at BHP's facilities.

It is also unclear what may have motivated the apparent theft.

There were suggestions yesterday from the industry that it may been an attempt to discredit the uranium industry ahead of the ALP conference next week.

While the oxide could be used to "doctor" drill samples in a fraudulent bid to inflate the value of a uranium discovery, uranium mining executive Warwick Grigor said that was unlikely.

"It is more likely to be a larrikin, or part of an attempt to discredit the uranium industry," Mr Grigor said.

In a statement, BHP said the jars were now being held in a secure location ahead of a forensic investigation by the police.