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Russia: Official Says Nuclear Material Is Missing From Facilities

Moscow, 14 November 2002 (RFE/RL) -- The head of Russia's nuclear regulatory agency said today that small amounts of weapons-grade and reactor-grade nuclear material have disappeared from Russia's nuclear facilities. Gosatomnadzor agency head Yurii Vishnyevskii said instances of missing nuclear material have been recorded, but he said the quantities are not known. He said the missing material could either be kilograms of the uranium used in power plants, or grams of weapons-grade uranium.

Vishnyevskii did not give details on when the losses were discovered or what might have happened to the material.

Vishnyevskii also said that security at Russian nuclear facilities has improved since the 11 September terror attacks on the United States last year, but that such security efforts still need to be improved.