Cablegate: Brazil: Police Seize Uranium Ore

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.



E.O. 12958: N/A

1. (U) Brazilian Federal Police announced on Aug 24 the
seizure last month of 1,320 pounds of uranium and thorium
ore, the first time, according to press reports, that such a
seizure has occurred in Brazil. (Note: In 2003 GOB
officials told Poloff that they were unaware of any illicit
trafficking of nuclear materials within Brazil. End note)
The uranium and thorium ore, in granulated form, was taken
from a van that was stopped for routine inspection about 120
km. from Macapa, Amapa State. The alleged owner of the ore
was captured and charged with wrongful possession of illegal
materials, punishable by up to six years in prison. Police
revealed that the shipment was bound for Sao Paulo for likely
transshipment out of the country. Value of the shipment was
placed at USD 466,000. Since the material seized by police
was raw natural ore, the U-235 isotope content was no more
than 0.7 percent.

2. (U) Experts from Brazil's National Nuclear Energy
Commission and the National Department of Mineral Production
told the press that while this was the first seizure of this
type in Brazil, they suspected it was not the first time raw
uranium ore had been smuggled from the remote mining site in
Amapa State. Officials described the amount of the seizure
as "very large" and the operation as "not amateurish."


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