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December 21, 2014

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UN agency: Seized Iraq nuclear material is low risk

UNITED NATIONS — The U.N. nuclear agency says nuclear material that the Islamic State extremist group seized when it overran the Iraqi city of Mosul is "low grade" and doesn't pose "a significant safety, security or nuclear proliferation risk."

International Atomic Energy Agency spokesman Gill Tudor was responding Thursday to a letter from Iraq's U.N. Ambassador Mohamed Ali Alhakim to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon informing him that "terrorist groups" took control of just under 40 kilograms of uranium compounds at Mosul University which were used in scientific research.

Alhakim said the nuclear materials could enable terrorists, with additional expertise or in combination with other materials, to manufacture weapons of mass destruction. He asked for help "to stave off the threat of their use by terrorists in Iraq or abroad."

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