Find the latest breaking news and information on the top stories, science, business, entertainment, politics, and more.

UN says tonnes of uranium missing from Libyan site: Reports

UN nuclear agency IAEA says missing uranium stockpile may pose radiological and security risks.

The United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has reported that about 2.3 tons of natural uranium have disappeared from a site in Libya not under government control, news agencies reported.

IAEA Chief Rafael Grossi told the organization’s member states this week that inspectors reported 10 barrels of uranium ore concentrate were missing and “not present as previously stated” at the Libya site.

The IAEA will carry out further activities “to clarify the circumstances of the disposal of the nuclear material and its current location,” the organization said in a statement Wednesday without providing further details on the site, according to news agencies Reuters and Agence France-Presse. .

“The loss of knowledge about the current location of nuclear material may pose a radiological risk, as can nuclear safety concerns,” the IAEA said, adding that reaching the location required “complex logistics”.

Libya, led by Muammar Gaddafi, abandoned its nuclear, chemical and biological weapons program in 2003 after secret talks with the United States and the United Kingdom. Gaddafi’s regime had obtained centrifuges that could enrich uranium as well as design information for a nuclear bomb, even though the country was making little progress in making a nuclear weapon.

Since a NATO-backed insurgency and the fall of Gaddafi in 2011, the country has been plagued by political crises and rival militias forming opposing alliances backed by foreign powers. Political control in the country remains divided between a nominal caretaker government in the capital Tripoli in the west and another in the east, backed by military strongman Khalifa Haftar.

The last major armed clashes only ended in 2020 and sporadic fighting continues.