The United Nations’ nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), has confirmed reports that a shipment of 10 drums containing 2.5 tons of uranium yellowcake has gone missing in Libya.
The shipment had been stored at a facility in Sabha, in the country’s south, since 2014 and was used to manufacture nuclear fuel for medical research. The IAEA said in a statement that the yellowcake had been moved to a secure location in Tripoli in 2018, but it is now unaccounted for.
The IAEA said it is working with Libyan authorities to investigate the disappearance of the uranium and to identify any potential proliferation risks. It said it is “deeply concerned” about the disappearance of the uranium and urged Libya to “resolve the matter as quickly as possible”.
The disappearance of the uranium raises concerns about the security of nuclear materials in the country, particularly in light of the ongoing conflict and instability. It is unclear how the uranium went missing or who is responsible, but the incident highlights the need for increased security measures to ensure that nuclear material is not misused or falls into the wrong hands.