A shipment of bomb-grade uranium arrived at a secure facility in Russia on Monday, sent from a research reactor in Poland as part of a race to secure dangerous radioactive material around the world.

nuclear_transport-mapA shipment of bomb-grade uranium arrived at a secure facility in Russia on Monday, sent from a research reactor in Poland as part of a race to secure dangerous radioactive material around the world. There was no way to mistake the shipment for something innocuous like Polish sausage: The trucks were escorted by heavily armed police officers and plastered with large signs saying they carried radioactive material.

“I feel like we’re prepared for everything, but you’re just a little bit nervous,” said Igor Bolshinsky, who is part of a small American team that planned the nuclear road trip. His group was responsible for the transport of the uranium from Poland back to Russia, where it came from in the first place.

The route is complicated: The material will travel by truck to Warsaw, by train to the Baltic port of Gdynia, by boat to the Russian port of Murmansk, and finally by train to a high-security facility in Siberia.

This uranium was never intended for weapons; it was fuel for a small nuclear reactor that scientists use for research. Globally, there are more than 100 research reactors like the one in Poland.

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Source: Geoff Brumfiel | NPR
Photo: NPR