Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Ja: Jamaica's got a nuclear reactor

JAMAICA is one of 43 countries listed by the United States as the recipients of 'weapons-grade' uranium over the past 50 years.

According to international media reports which surfaced earlier this month, those countries ­ including Iran, Pakistan, Mexico and Israel ­ have 'refused' to return the combined stock of enough material to make about 1,000 nuclear bombs.

But representatives of both the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the University of the West Indies (UWI) have denied that Jamaica had ignored an obligation to return the material.

According to Professor Gerald Lalor, director-general of the International Centre for Environmental and Nuclear Sciences (ICENS) at the UWI, the uranium was obtained as the core of a tiny research reactor called SLOWPOKE-2. The reactor was purchased from Atomic Energy of Canada (AECL) and is of U.S. origin.

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