IAEA Team Checks Uranium Sites in Libya

IAEA Team Checks Uranium Sites in Libya
IAEA Team Checks Uranium Sites in Libya

A team from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has completed the inspection of a uranium ore storage site in southern Libya, containing 6,400 barrels, according to the Fawasel media platform.

Sources told Fawasel that, the IAEA team arrived at Sebha airport on Monday, from the Austrian capital, Vienna.

The team visited several other sites in southern Libya, before leaving the country after completing the detection process and acknowledging the existing quantities of uranium.

Last week, the Libyan National Army (LNA) announced that it has found several barrels of uranium that were reported missing by the IAEA a day before.

In a statement, the LNA said ten drums containing the ore were found five kilometers from the storage warehouses, near the border with Chad.

The Director-General of the UN nuclear watchdog, Rafael Mariano Grossi has announced that more than 2.5 tons of natural uranium were missing from a site in war-torn Libya, prompting nuclear security fears.

Natural uranium cannot immediately be used for energy production or bomb fuel. The enrichment process typically requires the metal to be converted into a gas before being spun in centrifuges to reach the levels needed.

“Agency safeguard 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.

Under the rule of late longtime leader Muammar Gaddafi, Libya had stored thousands of barrels of so-called yellowcake uranium. This was for a once-planned conversion facility that was never built in his decades-long secret weapons program, according to the Daily Mail.

Notably, MP Ali Al-Takbali accused the Liberation Front of Chad of attempting to steal a number of barrels of uranium.

Al-Tekbali claimed that the group was planning to sell the uranium to finance their military operations against the Chadian government.