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Uranium Amount Shrinks

September 30, 2002|From Reuters

DIYARBAKIR, Turkey — A Turkish police official said Sunday that the amount of uranium seized by officers the day before was about 5 ounces, not 33 pounds as initially reported.

The state-run Anatolian news agency reported Saturday that paramilitary police in the southern province of Sanliurfa detained two men after discovering the uranium in a lead container hidden beneath a seat in a taxi.

But the amount initially reported had included the weight of the container, a Sanliurfa police official said. The International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna had been skeptical of the amount previously reported, as it would have been enough to make a nuclear bomb, spokeswoman Melissa Fleming said Sunday.

The Turkish official said the weapons-grade uranium was seized Friday after police stopped the vehicle in the province, which borders Syria. The incident comes at a time of heightened tension between the United States and Iraq--also a neighbor of Turkey. Washington accuses Baghdad of developing weapons of mass destruction.

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