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Last Updated: Monday, 18 December 2006, 13:01 GMT
Germany sends uranium to Russia
Container of uranium being loaded onto Russian plane at Dresden airport
An armoured lorry was used to bring the uranium to the plane
A large consignment of uranium - most of it highly enriched - has been flown to Russia from eastern Germany.

Anti-nuclear protesters forced a convoy carrying the uranium to take a detour on its way to Dresden airport.

The protesters - about 30 in all - were heavily outnumbered by police escorting the uranium from a long-decommissioned research reactor at Rossendorf.

It is going to a reprocessing centre at Podolsk, outside Moscow. The shipment is part of a nuclear safety programme.

It is not clear if the uranium is sufficiently enriched to make a nuclear bomb.

The consignment of about 300kg (660 pounds) includes 200kg of uranium. A Russian transport plane took off with it early on Monday.

The fuel belonged to a research reactor built by the Soviet Union in the former East Germany, which was shut down in 1991, a year after German reunification.

The plan is to mix the highly enriched uranium with low-grade uranium - part of an international programme to prevent nuclear materials falling into the wrong hands.

The transfer was organised under a US-Russian programme of co-operation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), called the Global Threat Reduction Initiative.




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