China calls for strengthening of regulations after illicit trade of uranium uncovered in Indian city

Beijing, May 12 (KMS): China has called on all the countries to join treaties for non-proliferation aimed at ensuring nuclear safety after reports of seizure of over seven kilograms of radioactive uranium from persons running an international ring in the Indian state of Maharashtra.

“The nuclear terrorism is the security challenge faced by the international community. All governments have the responsibilities to strengthen regulation of nuclear materials to combat on nuclear trafficking to ensure the nuclear safety and security,” Chinese Foreign Ministry’s Spokesperson Hua Chunying said during her briefing while commenting on the recovery of 7,100 grams of radioactive uranium by the police from two persons in Mumbai, capital of Indian state of Maharashtra.

“We call on all countries to join relevant treaties for non-proliferation so that we can ensure the nuclear safety and new contributions to international peace and safety,” she added.

According to Indian media reports, the police last week seized over seven kilograms of radioactive uranium in the Maharashtra state and they also arrested two persons, who were trying to illegally sell pieces of uranium worth $2.8 million.

The seized material was sent to Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) for analysis which reported that the substance was natural uranium and “highly radioactive and dangerous to human life”.

It is believed that the arrested accused Jigar Jayesh Pandya and Abu Tahir Afzal Hussain Choudhary got their Uranium tested from a private laboratory to check its purity. This also proves the unchecked trade of the highly radioactive materials and its potential threats to the peace in the region.

According to Anadolu Agency, it was the second time in India that such a highly radioactive substance has been seized by the police in recent years. In 2016, the police seized almost 9kg of depleted uranium in the Thane area of Maharashtra.

At least 11 states in India have uranium reserves with Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand and Meghalaya recording the largest reserves of radioactive material. — Courtesy The Nation

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