Uranium contaminated package seized at Heathrow Airport by counter terror police - what is uranium?

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A Met police commander has assured that the package posed no public threat and champions Border Force officers for their work.

Scotland Yard has confirmed that a package from Oman tested positive for uranium back on December 29, 2022. The package was seized by counter-terrorism units at Heathrow Airport, London when traces of the radioactive substance were found during what the Met has called a “routine security screening”.

The Met has been quick to assure the public that there was no risk to anyone who may have been at Heathrow on December 29, 2022, but that a live investigation is currently ongoing. “From our inquiries so far it does not appear to be linked to any direct threat. As the public would expect, however, we will continue to follow up on all available lines of inquiry to ensure this is definitely the case,” Commander Richard Smith of the Met has said.

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The package was originally sent from Pakistan, arriving in England with its final destination an Iranian-owned business with premises in the country. The Guardian reached out to the Home Office, which responded that it does not believe there is any threat to the public. However, a spokesperson for the department said that “we do not comment on live investigations.”

Commander Richard Smith also commended Border Force agencies at Heathrow Airport, stating that the swift action regarding the contaminated package “highlight(s) the excellent capability we and our partners have in place to monitor our ports and borders in order to keep the public safe from any potential threats to their safety and security that might be coming into the UK.”

No arrests have been made and officers are working with partner agencies to investigate the arrival of the package and the intentions if it did indeed arrive at its intended destination. Uranium “enriched” into U-235 concentrations can be used as fuel for nuclear power plants and the nuclear reactors that run naval ships and submarines. It also can be used in nuclear weapons.

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