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Clean-up study brings the scandal to light.

Just 15kg of the missing uranium is enough to make a nuclear weapon of the type dropped on Hiroshima.

It is the same material used in Pakistan's nuclear weapons, which were detonated last week to international condemnation.

The missing 170kg of weapons-grade uranium - listed blithely as Material Unaccounted For - could be contained in a holiday suitcase.

The study which uncovered the scandal was triggered in April.

The Government announced a pounds 400million project to build a new waste silo and clean- up the 213ft deep disposal shaft at Dounreay which contains a deadly cocktail of dumped nuclear waste.

The shaft, which wasn't a purpose-built dump, was used as an unofficial disposal unit for 16 years.

It had been sealed - but a huge blast in May 1977 threw debris over a wide area.

The clean-up proposal will mean a major jobs boost to Caithness. But it has been complicated because the operators don't know exactly what is contained in the shaft. So an investigation was set up to determine the contents. Now scientists have admitted huge quantities of uranium are officially listed as missing.

The Dounreay Shaft Inventory says 16,000 consignments of waste were tipped - 5000 more than was previously thought.

It's thought the uranium was either tipped into the waste shaft or remains lodged behind five- foot thick concrete shields in one of Dounreay's reprocessing plants.
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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jun 3, 1998
Words:227
Previous Article:Sleaze busters hit the capital.
Next Article:MISSING; Dounreay loses enough uranium to make TWELVE nuclear bombs.


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