Dirty bomb fears as URANIUM is found in cargo at Heathrow: Package 'shipped from Pakistan to UK-based Iranians

Nilgiri

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A shipment of uranium has been seized at Heathrow airport - sparking an investigation by counter terrorism police who fear there could have been plans to use it to make a dirty bomb.

The undeclared material was discovered on December 29 on a passenger flight which arrived from Oman.

The package originated from Pakistan and was destined for an Iranian business with a premises in the UK.

It has prompted fears the uranium may have been destined for use in a dirty bomb - which is a mix of explosives, such as dynamite, with radioactive powder or pellets.

When the dynamite is set off, it can carry radioactive material into the surrounding area.

Police have not made any arrests, but The Sun reports there is an overwhelming 'concern over what the Iranians living here wanted with non-disclosed nuclear material'.

An unnamed source told the publication: 'The race is on to trace everyone involved with this rogue non-manifested package.

'Security bosses are treating this with the seriousness it deserves. Protocol was not followed and this is now an anti-terror operation.'

Specialist scanners picked up on the undeclared parcel as it was transported to a freight shed.

Border Force agents isolated the shipment in a radioactive room and, upon determining it was uranium, called in counter-terror police.

Met Police told MailOnline: 'We can confirm officers from the Met's Counter Terrorism Command were contacted by Border Force colleagues at Heathrow after a very small amount of contaminated material was identified after routine screening within a package incoming to the UK on 29 December 2022.'

Commander Richard Smith said: 'I want to reassure the public that the amount of contaminated material was extremely small and has been assessed by experts as posing no threat to the public.

'Although our investigation remains ongoing, from our inquiries so far, it does not appear to be linked to any direct threat.

'As the public would expect, however, we will continue to follow up on all available lines of enquiry to ensure this is definitely the case.

'However, it does highlight the excellent capability we and our partners have in place to monitor our ports and borders in order to keep the public safe from any potential threats to their safety and security that might be coming into the UK.'

'No arrests have been made at this time and officers continue to work with partner agencies to fully investigate this matter and ensure there is no risk to the public.

'The material has been identified as being contaminated with uranium.'

Last year, Former Washington official Robert Joseph told MailOnline Iran is a nuclear weapons state with enough uranium to build 'one, if not two' bombs.

He said: 'The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has documented that Iran has 60% of enriched uranium, enough for at least one if not two bombs.

'We have been saying for years 'they're approaching this breakout point and we've really got to negotiate with them.' They're there.'

Joseph was the chief negotiator to Libya in 2003 and is credited with convincing Colonel Muammar Gaddafi to give up his nuclear weapons programme.

MP Matthew Offord said at the time Iran were 'regularly testing ballistic missiles, and they are seeking to get enough uranium that they are able to produce a weapon'.
 

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Do you personally buy that story?
Just curious.
 

Kedikesenfare

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If I were Modi, I would precisely do that: send a package of Uranium to Europe via Pakistan to scare the hell out of the European snowflakes.

It's just too obvious. Something doesn't add up here.
 

GoatsMilk

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god forbid a dirty bomb ever goes off in the west and they blame it on Muslims, they will be dragging us out into the streets to be lynched and my prediction about the eventual criminalisation of the islamic religion will be brought forward by several decades.
 

suryakiran

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If I were Modi, I would precisely do that: send a package of Uranium to Europe via Pakistan to scare the hell out of the European snowflakes.

It's just too obvious. Something doesn't add up here.

Not that simple. It is possible to find source based on the 'signature' of the uranium.

If anything, it just shows the bias you have.
 

suryakiran

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Do you personally buy that story?
Just curious.
Too many questions arise. What type of uranium, uranium or trace? what quantity? Source of uranium, not despatch location.

But then given the history of the Pakistani khan network of nuclear smuggling, anything is possible.
 

TR_123456

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Too many questions arise. What type of uranium, uranium or trace? what quantity? Source of uranium, not despatch location.

But then given the history of the Pakistani khan network of nuclear smuggling, anything is possible.
Wasnt that to Pakistan instead of from Pakistan?
Dont you think there is something fishy here when they can just send it over the border between Pakistan and Iran?
why all this trouble when there is an easy way?
 

suryakiran

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Wasnt that to Pakistan instead of from Pakistan?
Dont you think there is something fishy here when they can just send it over the border between Pakistan and Iran?
why all this trouble when there is an easy way?
In 1997, Libya began receiving nuclear weapons-related aid from Dr. A.Q. Khan, the chief architect of the Pakistani nuclear weapons program and confessed proliferator of nuclear technologies to several countries of concern, including Iran and North Korea. This cooperation continued until fall 2003, when Khan’s clandestine collaboration with these countries became public following Libya’s disclosures about its efforts to build nuclear weapons. In 1997, Khan supplied Libya with the 20 assembled L-1 centrifuges, 29 and components for an additional 200 more intended for a pilot facility. In 2001, Libya received almost two tons of UF6; while some reports claim that Pakistan provided the UF6, 30 others cite evidence that it originated in North Korea. 31 IAEA sources believe that amount of UF6 is consistent with the requirements for a pilot enrichment facility. If enriched, the UF6 could produce a single nuclear weapon.

The notes indicate the involvement of other parties and will require follow-up.” 42 U.S. intelligence analysts believe the documents included a nuclear weapon design that China tested in the late 1960s and allegedly later shared with Pakistan. Reportedly, the design documents produced by Libya were transferred from Pakistan, contained information in both Chinese and English and set forth the design parameters and engineering specifications for constructing an implosion weapon weighing over 1,000 pounds, that could be delivered using an aircraft or a large ballistic missile.The notes indicate the involvement of other parties and will require follow-up.” 42 U.S. intelligence analysts believe the documents included a nuclear weapon design that China tested in the late 1960s and allegedly later shared with Pakistan. Reportedly, the design documents produced by Libya were transferred from Pakistan, contained information in both Chinese and English and set forth the design parameters and engineering specifications for constructing an implosion weapon weighing over 1,000 pounds, that could be delivered using an aircraft or a large ballistic missile.
https://www.nti.org/analysis/articles/libya-nuclear/



20 September 2009
Sunday Times reporter Simon Henderson publishes details of a letter that A.Q. Khan allegedly sent to his wife in
2003, which accuses the Pakistani government of direct involvement in Khan's nuclear black market. The Sunday
Times story portrays the letter as Khan's back-up plan should the Pakistani government disavow knowledge of
Khan's activities—the letter reportedly states: "They might try to get rid of me to cover up all the things they got
done by me," and Khan reportedly urges his wife to "Get in touch with Simon Henderson...and give him all the
details." The letter recounts Khan's proliferation assistance to Iran, China and North Korea, and mentions Libya in
an unspecified context. It reportedly portrays Khan's proliferation assistance to these countries as both sanctioned
and encouraged by the Pakistani government

26 September 2006
In his book, In the Line of Fire, Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf claims that A.Q. Khan transferred about 18
tons of centrifuges, parts, materials, and drawings to Iran and Libya through Dubai.
— "Pakistan Nuclear Hero Wanted in Iran Cover-Up: Musharraf," Agence France Presse, 26 September 2006.

27 January, 2006
The Turkish Customs Inspection Committee reports that two Turkish firms, Tekno Elektrik Sanayi and 3E
Endustriyel Sanayi, engaged in illicit nuclear trafficking with Libya before its voluntary disarmament of weapons of
mass destruction. A U.S. Department of Energy report states that Turkish firms supplied Libya with 6,992
centrifuge motors, 912 bottom magnets, and 19,447 ring magnets, which could have been used to produce up to
seven nuclear weapons per year. Turkish officials state that the parts supplied to Libya were exported to the Gulf
Technical Firm in Dubai, then to Pakistan, and then to Libya, which provides evidence of a strong link to the A.Q.
Khan network.
—"They have sold materials enough for 7 nuclear weapons," Milliyet, 8 December 2005; "Two Turks Alleged to
Nuclear Trafficking," Sabah, 27 January 2006

https://www.nti.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/libya_nuclear.pdf
 

TR_123456

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In 1997, Libya began receiving nuclear weapons-related aid from Dr. A.Q. Khan, the chief architect of the Pakistani nuclear weapons program and confessed proliferator of nuclear technologies to several countries of concern, including Iran and North Korea. This cooperation continued until fall 2003, when Khan’s clandestine collaboration with these countries became public following Libya’s disclosures about its efforts to build nuclear weapons. In 1997, Khan supplied Libya with the 20 assembled L-1 centrifuges, 29 and components for an additional 200 more intended for a pilot facility. In 2001, Libya received almost two tons of UF6; while some reports claim that Pakistan provided the UF6, 30 others cite evidence that it originated in North Korea. 31 IAEA sources believe that amount of UF6 is consistent with the requirements for a pilot enrichment facility. If enriched, the UF6 could produce a single nuclear weapon.

The notes indicate the involvement of other parties and will require follow-up.” 42 U.S. intelligence analysts believe the documents included a nuclear weapon design that China tested in the late 1960s and allegedly later shared with Pakistan. Reportedly, the design documents produced by Libya were transferred from Pakistan, contained information in both Chinese and English and set forth the design parameters and engineering specifications for constructing an implosion weapon weighing over 1,000 pounds, that could be delivered using an aircraft or a large ballistic missile.The notes indicate the involvement of other parties and will require follow-up.” 42 U.S. intelligence analysts believe the documents included a nuclear weapon design that China tested in the late 1960s and allegedly later shared with Pakistan. Reportedly, the design documents produced by Libya were transferred from Pakistan, contained information in both Chinese and English and set forth the design parameters and engineering specifications for constructing an implosion weapon weighing over 1,000 pounds, that could be delivered using an aircraft or a large ballistic missile.
https://www.nti.org/analysis/articles/libya-nuclear/



20 September 2009
Sunday Times reporter Simon Henderson publishes details of a letter that A.Q. Khan allegedly sent to his wife in
2003, which accuses the Pakistani government of direct involvement in Khan's nuclear black market. The Sunday
Times story portrays the letter as Khan's back-up plan should the Pakistani government disavow knowledge of
Khan's activities—the letter reportedly states: "They might try to get rid of me to cover up all the things they got
done by me," and Khan reportedly urges his wife to "Get in touch with Simon Henderson...and give him all the
details." The letter recounts Khan's proliferation assistance to Iran, China and North Korea, and mentions Libya in
an unspecified context. It reportedly portrays Khan's proliferation assistance to these countries as both sanctioned
and encouraged by the Pakistani government

26 September 2006
In his book, In the Line of Fire, Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf claims that A.Q. Khan transferred about 18
tons of centrifuges, parts, materials, and drawings to Iran and Libya through Dubai.
— "Pakistan Nuclear Hero Wanted in Iran Cover-Up: Musharraf," Agence France Presse, 26 September 2006.

27 January, 2006
The Turkish Customs Inspection Committee reports that two Turkish firms, Tekno Elektrik Sanayi and 3E
Endustriyel Sanayi, engaged in illicit nuclear trafficking with Libya before its voluntary disarmament of weapons of
mass destruction. A U.S. Department of Energy report states that Turkish firms supplied Libya with 6,992
centrifuge motors, 912 bottom magnets, and 19,447 ring magnets, which could have been used to produce up to
seven nuclear weapons per year. Turkish officials state that the parts supplied to Libya were exported to the Gulf
Technical Firm in Dubai, then to Pakistan, and then to Libya, which provides evidence of a strong link to the A.Q.
Khan network.
—"They have sold materials enough for 7 nuclear weapons," Milliyet, 8 December 2005; "Two Turks Alleged to
Nuclear Trafficking," Sabah, 27 January 2006

https://www.nti.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/libya_nuclear.pdf
Ok but this still doesnt explain why send it to the UK instead of just over the border?
 

suryakiran

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Iran and Libya received black market nuclear materials from Pakistani scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan, police said Friday, citing the deals’ middleman.

Buhary Syed Abu Tahir, the alleged chief financier of an international nuclear trafficking network run by Khan, told Malaysian police that the scientist asked him to send two containers of used centrifuge parts from Pakistan to Iran in 1994 or 1995.

Tahir also said Libya received enriched uranium from Pakistan in 2001, according to police.
 

suryakiran

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Ok but this still doesnt explain why send it to the UK instead of just over the border?
Which is where my next query was. As with current info, it is dificult to ascertain what this is about.

Is it traces of uranium or a radioactive substance from some other equipment. What was it found on? Was it medical equipment. What was the grade? What is the 'signature' of the trace element if it was enriched.

Let me assure you, all of these are pretty easy to find.
 

Gessler

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COUNTER-terror cops and security services are investigating after a deadly shipment of uranium was seized at Heathrow.

The undeclared nuclear material can be used in a dirty bomb.

It was destined for Iranian nationals in the UK, originated from Pakistan and arrived on a flight from Oman. A source said: “The race is on to trace everyone involved.”

The package suspected of being smuggled to UK-based Iranians arrived in the hold of a passenger jet. Specialist scanners detected the potentially-lethal uranium as it was ferried to a freight shed, triggering alarms. Border Force agents swooped and isolated the unregistered shipment in a dedicated radioactive room. Counter-terror police were alerted and a security probe launched into who sent the cargo.

It originated from Pakistan and arrived at Terminal 4 on an Oman Air jet from Muscat. Cops were understood to be targeting an Iran-based firm with UK premises where the material was due to go to mystery recipients. No arrests have been made.

Officials will want to rule out any fears that a dirty bomb — a mixture of explosives with radioactive power — was being built here. The suspected plot was smashed on December 29 and a Heathrow source told The Sun: “The race is on to trace everyone involved with this rogue non-manifested package.

“Security bosses are treating this with the seriousness it deserves. Protocol was not followed and this is now an anti-terror operation.

TOB-MAP-4-5.jpg


'Very suspect'​

“There are real concerns over what the Iranians living here wanted with non-disclosed nuclear material.” Former commander of the UK’s nuclear defence regiment Hamish De Bretton-Gordon said: “For uranium to turn up on a commercial airliner from Pakistan to an Iranian address in the UK is very suspect.” A former army chief has claimed the deadly shipment could have been used for a Litvinenko-style assassination plot.

Officials believe they have prevented any immediate threat to the public. They are being assisted by security services as they investigate the suspected plot. Forensics teams have spent days poring over the shipment which was spotted as it was moved to a freight shed owned by handling firm Swissport. Strict protocols must be followed to fly dangerous cargo, particularly on passenger flights.

Rules include uranium being loaded on to the base of units in the cargo hold — ensuring a minimum distance is kept between the nuclear material and cabin above.

Expert Mr De Bretton-Gordon added: “The nuclear threat has never been higher. Higher than it has ever been in the Cold War. “The good news is the system worked and it has been interdicted. Uranium can give off very high levels of poisonous radiation. It could be used in a dirty bomb.”

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has said Iran possesses more than 60kg of uranium enriched to 60 per cent, which puts it within reach of one atomic bomb. Significant technical hurdles would then have to be overcome to construct a bomb small enough to fit on a missile. But the UK said that Iran was moving quickly on a potential weapon. In 2015 Iran and six countries including the UK reached a deal to restrict Iran’s ability to develop nuclear weapons in exchange for lifting economic sanctions.

A year later when the IAEA declared Iran was living up to its end of the bargain, all nuclear-related inter-national sanctions were lifted. But ex-US President Donald Trump withdrew from the deal in 2018. US allies, including the UK, have since been scrambling for a diplomatic solution.

Last night the Met Police said: “We can confirm officers from the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command were contacted by Border Force colleagues at Heathrow after a very small amount of contaminated material was identified after routine screening within a package incoming to the UK on December 29.

"The material has been identified as being contaminated with uranium."

Commander Richard Smith, head of the Met’s SO15 counter-terror branch, said: “I want to reassure the public that the amount of contaminated material was extremely small and has been assessed by experts as posing no threat to the public. ‘’Although our investigation remains ongoing, from our inquiries so far, it does not appear to be linked to any direct threat. As the public would expect, however, we will continue to follow up on all available lines of enquiry to ensure this is definitely the case. “However, it does highlight the excellent capability we and our partners have in place to monitor our ports and borders in order to keep the public safe from any potential threats to their safety and security that might be coming into the UK.”

The Home Office said: “We do not comment on live investigations.”

Oman Air were contacted for comment. There is no indication the airline or Swissport is responsible for any wrongdoing.

 

Nilgiri

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Not that simple. It is possible to find source based on the 'signature' of the uranium.

You are thinking of something else (isotopes present after a blast hinting to production process + capability)...but that needs an actual fission process to happen.

Simple Uranium Metal does not have a signature dependent on origin.

Ok but this still doesnt explain why send it to the UK instead of just over the border?

From what I can gather so far, if there was dirty bomb intent for some group based in UK, there were probably testing out this route to see if it could get past the checkpoint PRD scanner etc.

If they managed to sneak it in, they probably continue to try do it over some time to gather enough material for whatever purpose within UK (you can attempt to generate mass panic without even producing an actual dirty bomb...but just enough hint of one being made etc).

i.e use shell companies and as little paperwork as possible etc....and scrap metal or whatever other consignment to try disguise it. Though that probably is quite strange to ship in air freight to begin with.

UK is probably doing a larger checkpoint protocol (on sea and land border facilities) right now to check if anything was attempted there.

It could also be something unrelated entirely in material mishandling when this scrap metal was loaded on the plane in Pakistan....and trace amount not being checked for there etc.

It depends on the amount this was in the end....UK authorities say it was a very low amount, but are of course treating it seriously (given if a larger network is there trying more etc) and looking for everyone involved in the shipment.

Which is where my next query was. As with current info, it is dificult to ascertain what this is about.

Is it traces of uranium or a radioactive substance from some other equipment. What was it found on? Was it medical equipment. What was the grade? What is the 'signature' of the trace element if it was enriched.

Let me assure you, all of these are pretty easy to find.

Yah medical isotope and residual cross contamination also came to my head. Its ongoing investigation, lets see what UK finds.

"The Sun" is tabloid so they are known to jump the gun somewhat and sensationalise on some limited info.
 

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