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Nigeria recovers stolen radioactive materials from US oil company

Posted by Xinhuanet on 2004/12/05 | Views: 1372 |

Nigeria recovers stolen radioactive materials from US oil company


Two stolen radioactive materials thatcan be used to make "dirty bombs" have been returned to Nigeria byUS oil services company Halliburton, head of the Nigerian Nuclear Regulatory Authority (NNRA), was quoted as saying Sunday.

Two stolen radioactive materials thatcan be used to make "dirty bombs" have been returned to Nigeria byUS oil services company Halliburton, head of the Nigerian Nuclear Regulatory Authority (NNRA), was quoted as saying Sunday.

The materials, which contained Caesium-137, were reported missing while in transit between the Nigerian oil cities of Warri and Port Harcourt by Halliburton's Nigerian subsidiary, HESNL, on Dec. 3, 2002.

The NNRA last year suspended Halliburton from carrying out any activity involving the use, importation, transport and transfer ofa radioactive source in Nigeria until the missing materials were recovered.

And in September 2003, the Nigerian government imposed an indefinite ban on the award of contracts to the HENSL for its negligence leading to the loss and its refusal to "cooperate with government authorities in ensuring the return."

But the News Agency of Nigeria quoted Shamsudeen Elegba, director-general of the NNRA, as saying Sunday: "The (stolen radioactive) items are now legally under our control, while the company is physically having them, but we have sealed the items with special packs that cannot be broken without our consent."

Elegba said that the NNRA had conducted various tests to ascertain integrity of the materials and confirm that they were the "real ones taken away."

The ban on the company, however, could not be lifted unless President Olusegun Obasanjo nodded his approval, Elegba added.

The stolen radioactive materials, which are primarily used to X-ray oil pipelines for cracks but can also be used to make "dirty bombs," were reportedly first found in Germany following their disappearance.

But Germany refused Nigeria's request to repatriate the materials and instead returned them to Halliburton, which moved them to the United States in January this year.

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