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Uranium found at UK Airport

Jan 9, 2023

Dr. Allan Britton

In the early noughties the UK Government introduced a project named Programme Cyclamen with the aim of becoming a key part of the government's counter-terrorism strategy. It involved the screening of incoming freight, vehicles, passengers and pedestrians to detect and deter the illicit importation of radioactive and nuclear material by terrorists or criminals.

The project involved the positioning of equipment which provides the capability to routinely screen all forms of traffic at UK points of entry for the illicit movement of radioactive materials, and is complemented by a fleet of Mobile Radiation Detection Units (MRDUs).

These Mobile Units are deployed on a risk and intelligence-led basis throughout the UK as and when required. Now, the detection of the contraband Uranium being found at Heathrow Airport, in a package which had originated in Pakistan; The worry is that a dirty bomb was being planned and it is this that the Counter Terrorism Unit will be more concerned about.

A dirty bomb when detonated by traditional explosives can be placed literally anywhere and will more than likely be placed where it can cause the most commercial damage, for instance imagine a small device exploding in a major city bank or a shopping centre.

Nuclear Proliferation is still going on and with the troubles in Ukraine and the damage caused at nuclear sites including Chernobyl, we cannot discount the fact that some materials even from disturbed soil, may find its way to the west including the UK. Even though the radioactive material from Chernobyl has a specific fingerprint, which allows it to be traced back to the source this will not prevent them from trying.

This find at Heathrow shows that the UK security services are on the case. Read the full story at

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