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Nuclear material seized in Iraq by militants not a risk, U.N. says

The International Atomic Energy Agency said the material was likely low-grade uranium.
By Ed Adamczyk   |   July 10, 2014 at 11:30 AM   |   Comments

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VIENNA , July 10 (UPI) -- Nuclear material seized by Sunni militants after the capture of the city of Mosul, Iraq, is low-grade and likely not a safety risk, a regulatory agency spokeswoman said Thursday.

Iraq notified the United Nations when a material, believed to be uranium, was taken from a Mosul university when the city fell to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) last month.

Gill Tudor, spokeswoman for the United Nations' International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), based in Vienna, said the material was "low-grade and would not present a significant safety, security or nuclear proliferation risk." Adding that experts said it was unlikely the material could be used for weapon-making purposes, she said in a statement, "Nevertheless, any loss of regulatory control over nuclear and other radioactive materials is a cause for concern."

The notification by Iraq said the university held nearly 90 pounds of uranium which was used for scientific research.

In diminishing the power of the cache of material, the IAEA appeared to suggest the stockpile was unsuitable for use as a nuclear weapon.

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