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Cablegate: Goc Seizes "Unenriched" Uranium From Farc

VZCZCXYZ0045
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHBO #1144 0872206
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 272206Z MAR 08
FM AMEMBASSY BOGOTA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2091
INFO RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS PRIORITY 0161
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ MAR 9343
RUEHPE/AMEMBASSY LIMA PRIORITY 6036
RUEHZP/AMEMBASSY PANAMA PRIORITY 1430
RUEHPO/AMEMBASSY PARAMARIBO PRIORITY 0124
RUEHQT/AMEMBASSY QUITO PRIORITY 6690
RUEHGL/AMCONSUL GUAYAQUIL PRIORITY 4359
RUEHUNV/USMISSION UNVIE VIENNA PRIORITY 0022
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
RHMFIUU/DEPT OF ENERGY WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHMFISS/CDR USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RUCNDTA/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 1908

UNCLAS BOGOTA 001144

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

FOR PARAMARIBO: PLEASE PASS TO WHA A/S THOMAS A. SHANNON

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PTER PGOV PINR PARM CO
SUBJECT: GOC SEIZES "UNENRICHED" URANIUM FROM FARC

GOC SEIZES URANIUM "EMPOBRECIDO"
--------------------------------

1. (U) On March 26, the GOC confirmed that it had seized from
the FARC approximately 30 kilograms of uranium "empobrecido"
(unenriched or depleted) -- low in radioactivity, safe to
handle with special equipment, and similar to material used
in medical equipment, armoring material or counterweights --
from a drainage ditch south of Bogota. The military and the
Technical Investigation Unit (CTI), in coordination with
experts from the Ministry of Mines and Energy's Nuclear
Affairs Office, located the material based on information
contained in the Raul Reyes computers and tips from
informants. Armed Forces Commander General Freddy Padilla
said, "The FARC has been trying to procure uranium since
2005."

LOW RISK
--------

2. (SBU) Ministry Nuclear Affairs Office experts quickly
determined that the material was low in radioactivity and
posed no risk to recovery personnel or the surrounding area.
The officials conducted spectral and other analyses on the
material -- two small blocks of approximately 15 kilograms
each -- and reached the following conclusions:
--The first block, marked "Caution Radioactive Material DEH
FTD Uranium" was unenriched and likely for use in medical
equipment;
--The second block, marked "Caution Radioactive Material,"
was unenriched and likely used a counterweight for ships or
aircraft or as armoring material due to its high density;
--"The material does not represent an immediate risk to the
health of people or to the environment."
--"It cannot be used in the construction of nuclear weapons .
. . or cause nuclear explosions."

GOC TO COORDINATE WITH DOE
--------------------------

3. (SBU) The Embassy is working with the GOC to coordinate
additional GOC analysis on the origins and other details of
the seized material with contacts in the U.S. Department of
Energy. The GOC has tentatively named Dr. Fernando Mosos and
Dr. Jorge Vallejo as their POCs on technical issues. We will
forward contact and other information to WHA/AND and ISR/CTR.


BROWNFIELD

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