Insurgents in Iraq have seized nuclear materials used for scientific research at a university in the country’s north, Iraq told the United Nations in a letter appealing for help to “stave off the threat of their use by terrorists in Iraq or abroad.”
Nearly 40 kilograms (88 pounds) of uranium compounds were kept at Mosul University, Iraq’s U.N. Ambassador Mohamed Ali Alhakim told U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in the July 8 letter obtained by Reuters on Wednesday.
“Terrorist groups have seized control of nuclear material at the sites that came out of the control of the state,” Alhakim wrote, adding that such materials “can be used in manufacturing weapons of mass destruction.”
UN: No Danger From Stolen Nuke Material in Iraq
July 10, 2014
The U.N.’s nuclear agency says atomic material has been taken from a university in Iraq in a region controlled by Islamic militants but it does not present a health, safety or proliferation risk.
The International Atomic Energy Agency describes the material as “low-grade” and says its removal from Mosul University does not translate into a “significant” danger of any kind.
The agency says it was notified by Iraqi officials of the seizure of the unspecified material and is seeking further details.