Nuclear scientists vow to never sell enriched uranium to odious regimes

Ukrainian Pravda, October 10, 2002

Nuclear research center in Kharkiv resolutely refute possibility of selling enriched uranium to other countries by Ukraine.

Volodymyr Lapshyn, head of the National research center Kharkiv Institute of Applied Physics, disclosed this during a press conference in Kharkiv Wednesday. This way he commented on related news circulated Tuesday by mass media.

Particularly, the Ukrainian service of BBC quoted the U.S. News & World Report, according to which the U.S. is trying to buy 75 kilos of enriched uranium stored in the research center in Kharkiv, worrying radioactive stuff from Ukraine may end up in Iraq or in any other "odious" regime. Commenting on this, Lapshyn noted it is not the first time that the figure of 75 kg was mentioned, another case of this had place seven years ago in the British press. "I do not comment on this figure, it is the IAEA that knows the volume and the kind of what we have," he said.

In his words, U.S. companies indeed applied for purchase of uranium. However, he stressed, nuclear stuff stored in the research center is the state property supervised by the IAEA and cannot be moved to any country without approval. "We are indeed a nuclear site registered and controlled by the IAEA," Lapshyn stressed. In his words, IAEA monitors inspect the site at least twice a month.

He reminded also that the system of control and access to the center was designed with participation of the U.S., Sweden and Japan. In his opinion, the system of safety is the best in Europe for today. Lapshyn stressed also that the institute is not interested in sale of nuclear stuff, since without them it would have to change the type of activity. "We will not be able to another stuff," he said. "Therefore there is not talk of any sale," he concluded.

When asked of whether Iraq showed interest in nuclear stuff, Lapshyn noted "there were no direct contacts with Iraq on the matter." He is confident that it is impossible to carry such deal "silently" as it calls, at least, for the governmental approval.



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