Three nabbed with uranium in Navi Mumbai


Mumbai: The Maharashtra police and atomic energy officials here are in a tizzy following the recovery of around 5 kg of uranium from three people in Navi Mumbai.

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The police arrested three people when they were attempting to carry the material from an unidentified location in Navi Mumbai last Sunday, Police Commissioner (Navi Mumbai) Gulabrao Pol told IANS.

The trio – whose identity and motives are not revealed by the investigators – were remanded to police custody till Dec 17 by a local court Tuesday afternoon.

The material was sent to the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) for tests and was confirmed as “depleted uranium”.

Following this, the BARC summoned officials from the Atomic Minerals Directorate (AMD), Nagpur, to inquire into the matter.

AMD officials arrived here and lodged a formal complaint with the Navi Mumbai police, an official of Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) told IANS here Tuesday.

“The depleted uranium is usually used as an excellent ‘radiation shielding material’ used in various applications. But it is a banned item and cannot be transported without following proper safety and security protocols,” the official explained.

He added that in the form it was recovered – in pieces similar to stones – it cannot be inhaled or ingested and did not pose harm to humans or environment, though more tests would be required to come to a final conclusion.

The official suspects that it may have its origins in some scrap market, but it was up to police to investigate it.

Pol said that investigations were on to find out from where the material could have been sourced and how it landed in the hands of the accused.

The DAE official declined to comment on the estimated value of the depleted uranium.