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Wednesday, 31 January, 2001, 16:13 GMT
Plutonium stash found in Greek forest

Police in Greece have cordoned off an area of forest in the north of the country where a buried store of radio-active metals has been found.

A spokesman for the financial crimes unit said metal plates containing about three grammes of plutonium and americium had been removed from the site to a safe facility, but checks were continuing to ensure there were no further quantities hidden.

The radio-active material is believed to have been smuggled into Greece from Bulgaria or a former Soviet republic.

The director of the Greek atomic energy agency, Leonidas Kamarinopoulos, said plutonium was usually sold for terrorist purposes, although the amount was too small for a bomb.

He said plutonium was still dangerous, even in such quantities. The area where the metal was found lies about twelve kilometres outside Salonika and is used by picnickers and joggers.

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