Cargo from Pakistan with radioactive Uranium seized at UK's Heathrow airport; sparks dirty-bomb fears
The radioactive material was detected in a package at Heathrow Airport following a routine screening on December 29. The discovery of the shipment has raised alarm over the possible use of Pakistan as a transit point for smuggling nuclear material.
- United Kingdom
A shipment containing several kilograms of uranium, which could potentially be used for making a dirty bomb was seized at UK's Heathrow Airport in a cargo consignment originating in Pakistan, reported The Sun. According to the British tabloid The Sun, the package containing Uranium originated in Pakistan before landing at Heathrow's Terminal Four aboard an Oman Air passenger flight from Muscat.
The package containing the radioactive material was detected at the UK Airport following a routine screening on December 29. The Uranium package which was found in the Cargo section of Heathrow was addressed to an Iranian-linked firm in the UK, reported The Sun.
A major counter-terrorism probe has been launched. Border Force agents isolated the consignment in a radioactive chamber and brought in counter-terrorism officers after discovering it was uranium.
"We can confirm officers from the Met's Counter Terrorism Command were contacted by Border Force colleagues at Heathrow after a very small amount of contaminated material was identified after routine screening within a package incoming to the UK on 29 December 2022," Met Police told MailOnline, UK based media agency. "I want to reassure the public that the amount of contaminated material was extremely small and has been assessed by experts as posing no threat to the public," Commander Richard Smith said, according to Dailymail Online.
"Although our investigation remains ongoing, from our inquiries so far, it does not appear to be linked to any direct threat. However, we will continue to follow up on all available lines of enquiry to ensure this is definitely the case," the commander said. The discovery of the shipment has raised alarm over the possible use of Pakistan as a transit point for smuggling nuclear material.
Uranium is a naturally occurring element that can be used for nuclear-related purposes once it is refined or enriched through the use of centrifuges. The incident has also led to concerns over the handling of nuclear material in Pakistan. Pakistan has had a tumultuous history with nuclear material, with several incidents of the illegal proliferation of nuclear technology and materials being reported in the past.
In 2004, the world was shocked to learn that the father of Pakistan's nuclear bomb, Abdul Qadeer Khan, had been running a black market in nuclear technology for more than a decade, and had provided nuclear secrets to countries such as Iran, Libya, and North Korea. (ANI)
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