Uranium package didn’t originate from Pakistan, says Foreign Office

"Uranium can give off very high levels of poisonous radiation. It could be used in a dirty bomb. The good news is the system worked and it has been interdicted" says Hamish De Bretton-Gordon, former commander of the UK's nuclear defence regiment
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ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Foreign Office (FO) on Thursday rejected UK media reports that a uranium package seized at London's Heathrow Airport originated from the country, saying the reports were "not factual", media reported.

On Wednesday, British police revealed that a "very small quantity" of uranium was detected in a package that arrived at Heathrow Airport last month. They added it did not appear to be linked to any direct threat or any public health threat, Geo News reported.

The amount of radioactive material, caught during routine scanning on December 29, was extremely small and had been assessed by experts as posing no risk, Richard Smith, head of London police's Counter Terrorism Command said.

Later, a report by The Sun claimed that the package originated from Pakistan before arriving aboard an Oman Air passenger jet from Muscat. The shipment was addressed to an Iranian-linked firm in the UK, it was understood.

In response to media queries on the matter, FO Spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch said, "We have seen the media reports. We are confident that the reports are not factual."

The official added that no information to this effect had been shared with them officially by the UK authorities, Geo News reported.

A spokesperson of Scotland Yard told Geo News, "We can confirm officers from the Met's Counter Terrorism Command were contacted by Border Force colleagues at Heathrow after a very small amount of contaminated material was identified after routine screening within a package incoming to the UK on 29 December 2022."

"I want to reassure the public that the amount of contaminated material was extremely small and has been assessed by experts as posing no threat to the public. Although our investigation remains ongoing, from our inquiries so far, it does not appear to be linked to any direct threat," said Commander Richard Smith.

The official added that the agency would continue to follow up on all available lines of inquiry to ensure this was definitely the case.

"No arrests have been made at this time and officers continue to work with partner agencies to fully investigate this matter and ensure there is no risk to the public. Border Force agents isolated the shipment in a radioactive room and, upon determining it was uranium, called in counter-terror police."

Hamish De Bretton-Gordon, former commander of the UK's nuclear defence regiment, said, "Uranium can give off very high levels of poisonous radiation. It could be used in a dirty bomb. The good news is the system worked and it has been interdicted."

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