There are palpable global worries over the alleged possible existence of the Uranium black market in India.
The recent arrest and seizure of 6.4 kgs of Uranium from seven suspected covert dealers by Indian police are fuelling concerns that Uranium black market may exist in India.
The Incident most local media say marks the second time in less than a month that authorities have captured a large quantity of the radioactive material, adding that previously captured quantity was 7 kgs.
“Bhabha Atomic Research Centre in Mumbai has confirmed that the seized material is highly radioactive. Uranium exploration has been taken up in Arunachal Pradesh by the Atomic Minerals Directorate (AMD) for Exploration and Research, Jharkand is in close proximity from where the arrest was made. India has a poor record in nuclear technology usage, (there have been 6 incidents since 1987 related to nuclear plants),” available record reveals.
According to the Times of India, the suspects are part of a national gang involved in illegal uranium trade.
It added that aside from the recent two incidents, in 2016 police also seized almost 9kg (19.8 pounds) of depleted uranium in Maharashtra.
Recall that the UN Security Council Resolution 1540 and International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (CPPNM) make it binding on states to ensure stringent measures to prevent nuclear material from falling into wrong hands.
“The very fact that some people stole illegally mined Uranium raises concerns about nuclear safety and security in India. The Incident also indicates the possibility of a nuclear market existing in India that could be connected to international players. Keeping a view of the US Treasury (money laundering / terror financing) and UN report (links the presence of terrorists in India) this incident points towards a dangerous trend. The use of a “dirty bomb” by any terrorist organization in the backdrop of Indian loss control presents a scenario unacceptable to the world. It is the time that all Indian nuclear reactors are placed under IAEA and its NSG status be reviewed,” another data posited.
However, the Pakistan authority has expressed its deep concern over illicit Uranium sales in India, which show lax controls, poor regularity and enforcement mechanisms as well as possible existence of black market for nuclear materials inside India.
Foreign Office spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri who spoke to Radio Pakistan over illicit Uranium sales in India said: “We have seen the reports about yet another incident of attempted illegal sale of six kilogrammes of Uranium in India”.
He said a similar incident involving seven kilogrammes of Uranium in the Indian state of Maharashtra last month and other such reports in the past are a matter of deep concern.
The spokesperson said the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1540 and the International Atomic Energy Agency Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material make it binding on states to ensure stringent measures to prevent nuclear material from falling into wrong hands.
Chaudhri said it is important to ascertain the intent and ultimate use of the attempted Uranium sale given its relevance to international peace and security as well as the sanctity of the global non-proliferation regime.
He reiterated authorities’ call for thorough investigation of such incidents and measures for strengthening the security of nuclear materials to prevent their diversion.
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