Connect with us

Mystery behind sale of uranium in India black market

Uranium, India, Atomic Research

Oped

Mystery behind sale of uranium in India black market

Uranium occurs naturally in low concentrations in soil, rock and water and is commercially extracted from uranium-bearing minerals. Uranium that has a silvery grey metallic appearance is mainly used in nuclear power plants due to its unique nuclear properties. Depleted uranium is also used as shield against radiation in medical processes using radiation therapy and also while transporting radioactive materials. Though itself radioactive, uranium’s high density makes it effective in halting radiation. Its high density also makes it useful as counterweights in aircraft and industrial machinery. Writes Vijaya Laxmi Tripura

The recent seizure of 7 kilograms of natural uranium in India is not the first case of this radioactive material being sold in Indian black market. Back in 2016, police arrested two persons with depleted uranium. Uranium is generally used by nuclear power plants. But everyone is asking – who why this item is being sold in the black market and who are the buyers!

In the recent case, two individuals named Jigar Pandya (27) and Abu Tahir (31), were arrested by Maharashtra Anti Terrorism Squad (ATS) on Thursday. Both were trying to illegally sell off 7 kg uranium for around Rs 25 crore online when the ATS team sent a dummy customer and got a sample. The sample was sent to Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) which, on Wednesday, in its report, said the material sent was natural uranium following which the duo was placed under arrest under the Atomic Energy Act of 1962 for possessing uranium without license.

Uranium occurs naturally in low concentrations in soil, rock and water and is commercially extracted from uranium-bearing minerals. Uranium that has a silvery grey metallic appearance is mainly used in nuclear power plants due to its unique nuclear properties. Depleted uranium is also used as shield against radiation in medical processes using radiation therapy and also while transporting radioactive materials. Though itself radioactive, uranium’s high density makes it effective in halting radiation. Its high density also makes it useful as counterweights in aircraft and industrial machinery.

According to Indian media, Tahir’s father owns a scrap shop in Mankhurd. It is suspected that nearly two years ago, a truck with factory refuse had been sold to them. It also contained uranium that was heavy and looked different than the usual industrial waste. Tahir then stored it and spoke about it with Pandya during the ongoing lockdown. Pandya is believed to have used his contacts to confirm that the material was uranium and commanded a high value in the grey market. As they were trying to sell the 7kg uranium online for Rs 25 crores, the ATS found out about it. While initially the ATS thought it was a case of online scammers, later the matter was proved to be real.

The Thane police in 2016 had arrested two persons with 8 kg Depleted Uranium (DU) worth around Rs 24 crore. In that case too, one of the arrested accused was a scrap dealer.

As per rules, factories using uranium as a counterweight in their machines are mandated to contact the Atomic Energy agencies and return the uranium to them. They, however, resort to shortcuts and sell the entire machines along with uranium in scrap. Meaning, the factories are causing extreme harm to the environment by spreading highly radioactive content in the open market.

But the big question here is – who are the buyers of uranium in the black market in India? Are they individuals or terrorist groups?

Please follow Blitz on Google News Channel

Recommended for you:

Blitz’s Editorial Board is not responsible for the stories published under this byline. This includes editorials, news stories, letters to the editor, and multimedia features on WeeklyBlitz.net

Click to comment

Leave a Comment

More in Oped

Advertisement

Popular Posts

Subscribe via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Top Trends

Facebook

More…

Latest

To Top
%d bloggers like this: