The mystery of the shipment containing small amounts of uranium to the United Kingdom that was discovered at Heathrow Airport in late December may be closer to being solved.
Over the weekend, counter-terrorism officers arrested a man in his 60s on suspicion of a terror offense, Scotland Yard said.
The arrest came after counter-terrorism officers searched an address in Cheshire on Saturday. The man was arrested under Section 9 of the U.K. Terrorism Act 2006, which covers the making and possession of radioactive devices and materials. The suspect, who was not named, was released on bail until April.
“Based on what we currently know, [the incident] still does not appear to be linked to any direct threat to the public,” Commander Richard Smith, head of the Metropolitan Police’s Counter Terrorism Command, told reporters.
Smith said officers were continuing the investigation to “ensure this is definitely the case.”
In December of last year, border force agents at London’s Heathrow Airport discovered small amounts of uranium embedded in metal bars in a shipment to the United Kingdom.
Last Tuesday, Scotland Yard said that the amount of contaminated material was “extremely small” and posed “no threat to the public.” Reports of several kilograms of uranium being discovered were incorrect, police said.
The discovery triggered a counter-terrorism investigation in an attempt to find out why the uranium was concealed and what it was to be used for in the United Kingdom.
Hamish de Bretton-Gordon, the former head of the British army’s chemical weapons unit, told the Guardian that wasn’t clear what the uranium was intended for, calling it “a million-dollar question.”
“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,” Commander Richard Smith of the Metropolitan Police told the BBC.
De Bretton-Gordon told BBC Radio 4 that he could understand why the public is concerned given that “the substance could be used to create nuclear weapons,” the BBC reported.
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