Exclusive:Al Qaeda knew, 341 lbs nuke
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Enough processed uranium to make six nuclear weapons was secretly transported thousands of miles by truck, rail and ship on a monthlong trip from a research reactor in Budapest, Hungary, to a facility in Russia so it could be more closely protected against theft, U.S. officials revealed Wednesday.
The shipment, conducted under tight secrecy and security, included a three-week trip by cargo ship through the Mediterranean, up the English Channel and the North Sea to Russia's Arctic seaport of Murmansk, the only port Russia allows for handling nuclear material.
The 13 radiation-proof casks, each weighing 17,000 pounds, arrived by rail at the secure nuclear material facility at Mayak in Siberia on Wednesday, carrying 341 pounds of weapons-usable uranium, said Kenneth Baker, a National Nuclear Security Administration official who oversaw the complex project.
It is the largest recovery to date of highly enriched uranium provided either by the former Soviet Union or the United States under a program, begun in the 1950s, aimed at spreading the peaceful use of nuclear energy. The two countries have been working to return the spent fuel from reactors around the world because at many of the facilities, including the one in Budapest, security is lax, raising the possibility of the material being stolen by terrorists.
"It was a big shipment, the biggest one we've ever done," Baker said in an interview with The Associated Press hours after he received word that the shipment had arrived at its final destination in Russia. "It was basically enough to make six nuclear weapons."
Under the U.S.-Russian program, the NNSA, which is part of theEnergy Department, has completed 15 recoveries of U.S.-origin highly enriched uranium from research reactors in more than a dozen countries since 2005. The agency also was involved in three earlier shipments of Russian-origin highly enriched uranium that were removed from the Czech Republic, Latvia and Bulgaria and returned to Russia.
In Budapest "they had a fence and a guard," said Baker, although some security improvements have been made with U.S. help over the past year. Still, Baker added, "you don't want to leave it there."
Our BSU's tracked al Qaeda's funding arm ( on the Internet ) to a reasearch University in Budapest, Hungary.
or knew about the transfer.
Wasn't so secret after all.
So as we see the US Government knew about the al Qaeda interest well before the move.
al Qaeda decided they couldn't mount an operation big enough to have any possibility of success during transfer.
Or it was moved before they could mount an attack.
Either way its safe now.
Tactical Internet Systems analyst
Experimental nuclear physics:
We study the nucleus-nucleus collisions of light, medium and heavy nuclei. We investigate the reaction mechanism, the nuclear structure, the features of nucleon-nucleon interaction inside the nuclei at low and medium energies and the behaviour of the high temperature and high density nuclear matter at higher energies. Experimental work is done in the framework of international cooperations. http://www.rmki.kfki.hu/new/