Uranium Seized in France Could Have Made Low Grade Bomb


According to a report submitted by French nuclear specialists to a Paris judge, the 5g of HEU seized in Paris in July 2001 (see abstract 20010310) was "of Russian origin," AFP reported on 21 October 2001. The news agency said the expert analysis was presented in a report to Francoise Travaillot, a French investigative judge in Paris, and first cited in the Paris weekly newspaper Journal du Dimanche. [The experts were probably from France's Atomic Energy Commission (CEA). A 23 July 2001 article in Le Figaro reported that the uranium would be given to the CEA for analysis.[1]] The newspaper article, which also noted that some French police officials believe the HEU could have come from Ukraine, suggested that the HEU had been stolen from either a research laboratory or a dismantling center for nuclear submarines. It also warned that though the HEU was not sufficiently enriched to be considered weapons-grade [probably indicating an enrichment level of less than 90% U-235], it could have been used in a radiological weapon.

Abstract Number :  20010550
Headline:  Uranium Seized in France Could Have Made Low Grade Bomb
Bibliography:   Lexis-Nexis Academic Universe, http://web.nexis-lexis.com/universe
Material:   HEU

[1] Tanguy Berthemet and Michele Bietry, "Enriched Uranium Seized in the Middle of Paris," Le Figaro, 23 July 2001; in "Enriched Uranium Seized in Paris," FBIS Document EUP20010723000399

October 21, 2001

This article is part of a collection examining reported incidents of nuclear or radioactive materials trafficking in or originating from the Newly Independent States.

This material is produced independently for NTI by the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of and has not been independently verified by NTI or its directors, officers, employees, or agents. Copyright 2018.