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Japanese authorities found an online auction selling uranium

Japanese authorities found an online auction selling uranium
[Photo: Sergey Zolkin/Unsplash]

The online world is vast and deep, and it’s been said you can find anything on it. This seems doubly true today following a Japan Times report that Tokyo authorities are looking into how a substance that appeared to be uranium was sold online.

According to the report, someone was claiming to sell the radioactive element on an auction site operated by Yahoo Japan in November 2017. After learning of the alleged sale attempt, the Nuclear Regulation Authorities, told the police, who then contacted Yahoo, which ultimately took down the auction. The item for sale was “enclosed in a glass tube and put on sale under the name of ‘Uranium 99.9%.'”

Tokyo police have reportedly brought in people for questioning, as well as are testing the confiscated powder. An initial test reportedly found the contents to be radioactive. Japan is now trying to figure out if it’s depleted uranium or uranium concentrate.

This is all very worrying for multiple reasons. Not only is uranium used to make bombs, but it’s an extremely dangerous substance given its radioactivity. It’s unclear how long it was for sale online in Japan, who was selling it, or how they got in the first place. Not only that, but it’s anyone’s guess what a buyer was hoping to do with it.

Japanese law forbids unauthorized people from transferring nuclear materials, Japan Times writes. If someone is in violation, they face up to one year in prison and a fine of up to ¥1 million (a little over $9,000).

You can read the full report here.

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