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D.R.Congo Nuclear Centre Officials Arrested Over Uranium Smuggling

The Regional Center for Nuclear Studies is located in Kinshasa, D.R.Congo.
by Staff Writers
Kinshasa, D.R.Congo (AFP) Mar 08, 2007
Two officials from the Regional Center for Nuclear Studies in Kinshasa have been arrested in a police inquiry over the illegal sale of uranium, DRCongo's general prosecutor told AFP Thursday. "The general atomic-energy officer and director (of the centre), Fortunat Lumu, and another official are questioned by judicial inspectors over the smuggling of a large amount of uranium," Tshimanga Mukeba said.

No charges have yet been brought against the two officials who were arrested on Wednesday, he said, adding that "the judicial inquiry continues."

In August 2006, an investigation by the British Sunday Times newspaper revealed the seizure in October 2005 in Tanzania of a major shipment of uranium 238, coming from the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The country's government denied the report at the time.

"The uranium mine in Shinkolobwe, in the southeast, has been officially closed since 1960 due to the high costs of exploration.

Today, the DRCongo does not have the capacity to treat uranium and has never sold any to Iran," said Henri Mova Sakany, a spokesperson for the interim government.

Despite the official closure of the mine that had provided the uranium used in the two bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in World War II, hundreds of workers continue to illegally dig there.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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