Saturday May 08, 2021
The Foreign Office voiced "serious concern" over reports about the seizure of more than seven kilogrammes of natural uranium in India on Saturday.
"Security of nuclear materials should be the top priority for all countries," FO spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri said in a statement.
He said there is a need for thorough investigation of how such a sizeable quantity of uranium could become available outside any state control and identify the gaps which made this possible.
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Uranium is used in several areas, including nuclear explosives and medical techniques.
Last Wednesday, the Indian police seized more than seven kilograms of natural uranium worth around $2.9 million and arrested two men in the western Maharashtra State for “illegally possessing” the highly radioactive substance.
A case was registered under the Atomic Energy Act, 1962 against both the accused including 27-year-old Jigar Jayesh Pandya and 31-year-old Abu Tahir Afzal Hussain Choudhary after a report from the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre in Mumbai confirmed that the seized material was highly radioactive.
This is the second time in India that such a highly radioactive substance has been seized by police in recent years. In 2016, police seized almost 9kg (19.8 pounds) of depleted uranium in the Thane area of Maharashtra.