Kyrgyzstan intercepts 60 plutonium containers
BISHKEK: Kyrgyz security forces have foiled an attempt to sell 60 containers of plutonium-239, a substance used in nuclear weapons, a national security committee spokeswoman said on Tuesday.
It remained unclear how much plutonium was captured, but an official said its grade was high enough to make a so-called “dirty bomb” that disburses high doses of radiation over large areas.
One man was detained during the seizure of the plutonium last week while another suspect escaped, the spokeswoman said.
“Plutonium-239 is not used in Kyrgyzstan. The security service is trying to establish how this material reached the hands of the detained person,” she said.
Fears about chemical and nuclear site security in Kyrgyzstan have risen in recent years with the discovery of several such attempts to sell radioactive materials in the black market.
Although unsuspected of having produced nuclear weapons, this former part of USSR was a major uranium producer until its independence in 1991. afp