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Investigators following up on a nuclear sting in eastern Europe suspect that a crime syndicate was trying to sell weapons-grade uranium to buyers in North Africa. Officials in Moldova, a former Soviet republic, told The Associated Press that 1 kilogram (2.2 pounds) of highly enriched uranium remains in criminal hands and is probably in another country. Though that is a fraction of what is needed for a bomb....continued
On June 27, 2011, Moldovan officials arrested six persons in Chisinau purporting to possess 9 kilograms of highly-enriched uranium-235 (HEU), material for a nuclear weapon or dirty bomb, in an attempted sale for ÷23 million ($30 million). Plutonium, an even more troubling proliferation material, was also on offer. During the arrest, a vial containing 4.4 grams of highly-enriched uranium-235 (HEU) oxide was purchased in a fake sale for ÷420,000 ($600,000) in a sting operation organized by officers from the Moldovan Ministry of Internal Affairs, some of whom had coincidentally received routine counterproliferation training in the United States only weeks earlier.