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ALERT -- Ship carrying 331kg of weapons-grade plutonium, enough to make 50 atomic bombs, leaves Japan for US

ALERT -- Ship carrying 331kg of weapons-grade plutonium, enough to make 50 atomic bombs, leaves Japan for US

 Vasudevan Sridharan | IBTimes

A ship carrying up to 331kg of weapons-grade plutonium has left the port in Ibaraki Prefecture in Japan for the US, where the material will be downgraded. The amount of plutonium carried by the vessel is enough to produce up to 50 nuclear bombs.

The nuclear material is being carried by an armed British vessel, operated by Pacific Nuclear Transport, and its exact route has been kept secret for security reasons. The purity of plutonium is so high that it could be easily used to make advanced nuclear weapons, otherwise known as dirty bombs.

Two vessels, equipped with naval guns and other sophisticated protection, flying British flags had arrived at Japan's coastal village of Tokai earlier. The transfer of plutonium onto the vessel itself takes several hours, reported Japan's state-backed broadcaster NHK news. The shipped plutonium consignment was mostly bought from the UK and some from the US and France. The ultimate destination of the cargo is the Savannah River Site in South Carolina.

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