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74 kilos of uranium ore stolen from Romania depot
by Staff Writers
Bucharest (AFP) Nov 1, 2011

Eight cylinders containing 73.5 kilos (161 pounds) of uranium ore were stolen from a radioactive materials storage depot in northern Romania, authorities said Tuesday.

"The commission for the control of nuclear activities (CNCAN) was informed on October 26 that eight 3.5-m long cylinders containing 73.5 kilos of uranium ore disappeared from the depot at Stei," CNCAN said in a press release.

"The ore extracted from Baita quarry has low radioactivity levels" and poses virtually no contamination risk for the environment, it added.

"Even if the metal cylinders were broken or destroyed, the impact would be very limited" given the nature of the ore, the commission stressed.

Local police said an investigation had been opened and several suspects would be interrogated soon.

A local daily, Bihoreanul, said that the theft was discovered when several employees entered the depot in order to prepare the transfer of the uranium to a processing plant in Feldioara (centre).

A total of 12 cylinders should have been stored in the depot supposedly benefitting from strict security measures.

"The uranium could have been stolen three months or even a year ago but the theft was only reported last week when it could not be concealed anymore," a former engineer of the national uranium company told the daily on condition of anonymity.

Romania has one nuclear plant, at Cernavoda, based on the Canadian Candu 6 technology and using raw uranium and heavy water.

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Washington (AFP) Sept 27, 2011
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