Jharkhand Police has arrested seven people for possessing and planning to sell ‘mineral uranium’ in the black market. The accused are suspected to be part of national nuclear mafia gang involved in illegal uranium trade. Jharkhand is among a few states in the country that has uranium mines. Uranium Corporation of India Limited (UCIL) also has a uranium processing plant at Jaduguda, about 150 km from Bokaro city.
It is the third time in India that such a highly radioactive substance has been seized by police in recent years.
Apprehended individuals were searching for customers and fixed its price at Rs 50 lacks per kg. Notably, a kilo of uranium sells for around Rs 18 Crores in the global market.
In May 2021, 7.1 kg of uranium worth Rs 21.3 crore was seized from the duo identified as Jigar Jayesh Pandya (27) and Abu Tahir Afzal Choudhary (31).
In 2016, police seized 9 kg of uranium in Thane area of Maharashtra.
Indian newspaper Business-Standard reported that Indian ranked 19 in the “theft ranking” for countries with weapons usable nuclear materials.
A report in US-based Nuclear Threat initiative as saying that “India’s nuclear security conditions are adversely affected by continued increase of weapons-usable nuclear materials, corruption challenges, and the judgment that groups interested in and capable of illicitly acquiring nuclear materials are present in the country”.
Security of nuclear materials should be the top priority for all countries. There is a need for a thorough investigation as to how such a sizeable identify the gaps which made this possible.
IAEA should sanction India for such irresponsible behavior of handling / securing nuclear material.
Moreover, US, France and other nuclear capable countries should rethink of providing civil nuclear technology to such irresponsible state.