At least two and a half tonnes of natural uranium have gone missing in Libya, the UN has revealed.
The discovery was made last week after a routine inspection of an undisclosed site in southern Libya by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
It remains unclear who may have taken it from an area that the UN agency says is not under government control.
“Agency safeguards inspectors found that 10 drums containing approximately 2.5 tons of natural uranium in the form of uranium ore concentrate were not present as previously declared at a location in the State of Libya,” the IAEA said in a statement on Wednesday. “The loss of knowledge about the present location of nuclear material may present a radiological risk as well as nuclear security concerns.”
Since Muammar Gaddafi was removed from power in 2011, political control of the country has been split between an interim government in the western capital of Tripoli and a military administration in the east.
As a result of continued fighting between the two factions, the IAEA says it has struggled to gain regular access to the region in order to conduct routine inspections of its uranium stockpiles.
“Further activities will be conducted by the agency to clarify the circumstances of the removal of the nuclear material and its current location,” the IAEA statement concluded.
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