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Russia: FBI Says Most Smuggled Nuclear Material Worthless

Munich, 2 September 1999 (RFE/RL) - A senior U.S. criminal investigator based in Moscow says most Russian nuclear material smuggled to the West is worthless and incapable of being used in weapons. William Kinane, the representative of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in Moscow, told a conference on international crime being held this week in Germany that most nuclear material stolen in Russia and offered for sale is "radioactive junk." He said Russia maintains strong security at nuclear research laboratories and other sites to prevent theft. Kinane said in the past five years the FBI and Russian police have investigated about 20 cases of people offering alleged nuclear materials for sale. Almost all of the cases, he said, involved swindlers offering materials that they did not have.