WikiLeaks: Gaddafi Risked Nuclear DisasterWorld | December 4, 2010, Saturday // 11:16| views
Muammar Gaddafi risked a nuclear disaster, according to WiliLeaks. Photo by Wikipedia
Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi was prepared to leave highly enriched uranium potentially unprotected and at risk of hijack in a fit of pique aimed at the UN, according to US cables revealed by WikiLeaks .
On November 25 2009, 7 metal casks highly enriched uranium sealed only for transport, but not for storage, were left at a Libyan nuclear facility with a single armed guard in November 2009, the leaked diplomatic cables showed.
Scientists warned that the 5.2kg of uranium in the casks was highly radioactive and rapidly heating up, making it liable to crack the containers and leak into the atmosphere.
"If the enriched uranium is not removed from the casks within three months, its rising temperature could cause the casks to crack and to release radioactive nuclear material," the US embassy in Tripoli reported on that occasiom
US and Russian diplomats frantically lobbied Libyan officials to allow a Russian plane, which had been due to arrive at the Libyan Tajoura facility to pick up the casks, to land, but clearance was refused.
The incident came after Gaddafi suddenly reneged on a promise to dispose of the weapons-grade uranium, apparently initially because of a perceived slight when he was barred from pitching a tent outside UN headquarters in New York.
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