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Highly enriched uranium (HEU) in the hands of Moldovan smugglers?

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Is this like a bad B movie where nuclear material is smuggled out of the old Soviet Union and into the eager hands of waiting terrorists in North Africa?

It's like Tinkers to Evers to Chance only this time it goes Soviet Union era HEU to Moldova to North African terrorist groups!

When the Soviet Union fell there were always questions looming regarding its nuclear and biological weapons stockpiles and just who it was that was responsible for safeguarding them and who was not in the business of selling them to the highest bidder.

The same question could and was asked of the Soviet satellite states and the inventory of weapons the USSR had been keeping in those countries?

Moldova, highly enriched uranium (HEU) from the former Soviet Union and North African terrorist groups makes for a potentially deadly combination!


This is a brief summary from an article at Global Security Newswire with a link at the end to read it in its entirety.

“… Moldovan authorities believe that 2.2 pounds of weapon-usable uranium is held by traffickers who have in the past sought to sell the material to North African buyers…

… Should the existence of a legitimate buyer (or middleman) from a region with a history of terror cells be confirmed, then the case would be substantially more alarming than other recent fissile material interdictions, where official agents were the sole potential buyer…

… At the time of the June sting, the trafficking ring asserted to Moldovan investigators masquerading as interested buyers that they held 20 pounds of highly enriched uranium and some plutonium as well, according to the Lugar report, which was obtained by AP prior to publication. The smugglers were seeking close to $31 million for the uranium. About 60 pounds of HEU material would be required to construct an improvised nuclear device…

…Moldovan investigators think the Russian nuclear material was smuggled through Transnistria, a recognized sanctuary for traffickers. Air travel into the breakaway Moldovan region cannot be tracked and the territory's borders with Ukraine and Moldova are not adequately monitored, according to the Lugar report.” (GSN)

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