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In brief

Nuclear Monitor Issue: 

Slovak arrested in Germany on uranium charge.

(June 21, 1996) A Slovak engineer was arrested on 5 June, on suspicion of smuggling 2.77 kg (6.1 lbs) of radioactive uranium into Germany, investigators said. The uranium was found in a bank safety deposit box in the southern town of Ulm. The 49-year-old man was detained as he entered the bank, apparently intending to collect the material, which consisted partly of low-grade natural uranium and partly of more fissile enriched uranium. State prosecutors said they acted on a tip-off from Austrian police who told them the man was trying to sell the uranium for $1 million. Last year, 198 people were caught trading illegally in nuclear materials in Germany, according to a report in Focus news magazine. Seventy percent were foreigners, mainly from Russia, Poland, Lithuania and Ukraine.
Reuter, 5 June 1996

British ship sunk with nuclear weapons aboard. A report on nuclear accidents from the International Atomic energy Authority (IAEA) says that HMS Sheffield was carrying WE-177 nuclear depth charges when it was sunk by an Argentinian Exocet missile during the 1992 Falklands/Malvinas War. The British government denied at the time that nuclear weapons were being transported into the South Atlantic war zone. Although it has been assumed for years that nuclear weapons were on board HMS Sheffield when it was sunk, the IAEA report is the first public acknowledgement of this fact. "This episode underlines yet again the fundamental dangers of nuclear weapons, the environmental hazard they threaten if involved in an accident, and the fact that they are absolutely useless in actual conflict situations," stated Janet Bloomfield, Chair of British Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND).
Peace News (UK), June 1996

German spent fuel to be reprocessed in Dounreay. The German Minister for Research Ruettgers wants spent fuel from all German research reactors to be reprocessed in Dounreay, Scotland. After the US finally agreed to take back spent fuel from the reseach reactors, the Germans now want rather to reprocess it. There is no contract signed yet, but although scientists are not really keen about it a spokesperson of the facility in Dounreay said, the Germans had shown interest in reprocessing spent fuel there. The weekly Spiegel pointed out, that this could be the only possibility to get Highly Enriched Uranium (HEU) for the research reactor FRM II in Garching, because the US doesn't want to deliver it and there are problems with the Euratom and Russia, too. (see WISE NC 451.4454).
Die Tageszeitung (FRG) may 31, 1996; Spiegel may 27, 1996

N-BASE Website. The Northern European Nuclear Information Group (NENIG) not only has the monthly magazine N-Base; it also has an N-Base website. N-BASE is the title used by NENIG for its informa- tion services. The N-BASE site has an indexed database on the UK civil nuclear industry and on other related nuclear and non-nuclear issues, plus reports on reprocessing, Dounreay and Sellafield, radioactive waste, nuclear transports, marine discharges and international marine conventions. The full URL is: Please note that NENIG's phone and fax is now the same number: +44 (0)1595 694099