BEYOND NUCLEAR PUBLICATIONS
Search
JOIN OUR NETWORK

     

     

 

 

ARTICLE ARCHIVE
« Defending an endangered species against a proposed new atomic reactor | Main | "Chernobyl: Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and the Environment" available online for free »
Saturday
Dec042010

A single armed guard was all that protected Libyan weapons-usable highly enriched uranium

AP has reported that leaked U.S. diplomatic memos have revealed that in late 2009, 11.5 pounds of highly enriched uranium (HEU) at a nuclear facility in Libya were guarded by only a single armed guard for about a month. The critical mass for 85% HEU is about 110 pounds, meaning that the Libyan HEU would have provided 10% of the HEU needed for a nuclear weapon. In addition to the inadequate security, the U.S. diplomatic memos fretted about a loading crane that could have been used to steal the casks containing the HEU, and warned that the HEU could leak out of its containers within a few months.