Wednesday, May 18, 2016


An expatriate businessman recently volunteered to an Embassy r that he had hrd rumors that a nuclr rctor was being built nr Minbu, in central Magway Division on the Irawaddy River. The businessman added that he personally had seen a massive barge containing large-sized rebar being unloaded on a trip to the ar. After asking local residents about the rebar’s purpose, he was told that similar size barge shipments were arriving almost weekly and that the rebar was to be used in the construction of unnamed/unidentified factories. In the opinion of the businessman, the quantities involved as well as the diameter of the rebar suggested a project larger than factories. Along these lines, the businessman noted that there was a new airport nr Minbu with a landing strip that, based on its length and thickness, seemed excessive, adding that you could land the space shuttle on it.
Comment: Rumors of construction of a nuclr facility in/nr Magway Division date back to 2002 and erally refer to alleged Goverment of Burma (GOB) and Russian cooperation on a nuclr resrch rctor project. Similar rumors, sans the Russian angle, have been circulating with grter frequency within diplomatic and expatriate circles since a November 2003 Far stern Economic Review (FEER) article which described signs of growing military ties between North Kor and Burma. While we have no direct evidence of this alleged cooperation, rumors of ongoing construction of a nuclr rctor are surprisingly consistent and observations of activity such as that described above appr to be incrsing, as are alleged sightings of North Korn inside Burma.
Embassy contacts shared with us on documents for 112 metric tons of mixed ore shipped on January 25 from Burma to China via Singapore. Our contact noticed that authorities trted the shipment as highly sensitive, and suspect it may have included uranium. Our contact had no direct evidence to support this claim.
A contact told emboffs that a source informed him they were suspicious about the behavior of authorities when handling a January 25 shipment of mixed ore from Rangoon. According the contact, security was tighter than usual, surveillance was hvier, and officials paid closer attention to the movement of the shipment and activity at the port. This source also claimed that metals are usually exported in blocks, whers the bags in this shipment were filled with loose rth and mud. The source of the mixed ore, Maw Chi, is also a source for uranium, they claimed. The source said the destination in China, Fang Chen, and the shipping line, Advance Container Lines, were unusual for routine ore shipments. Shipments normally go to other ports in China via Myanmar Five Star Line, the government-owned shipping line, according to them. The shipper, Myanmar Ruby Enterprise, is a joint venture, 30% owned by the Ministry of Mines.
(S) information contained in the documents we have seen includes: Carrier: Advance Container Lines Co., Ltd. Shipper: Myanmar Ruby Enterprise Address: No. 24/26 Sule Pagoda Road, Kyauktada Township, Rangoon Shipped from Rangoon: January 25, 2007 Vessel: Kota Teraju to Singapore Destination: Fang Chen, China Port of Discharge: Fang Chen, Guang Xi, China Consignee: Yunnan Minmetals Trading Co., Ltd. Address: F/8 No. (408) Beijing Road, Kuming, PR China Shipment: Six containers holding 3080 bags, 112.0049 net metric tons of Mawchi Mixed Ore: (tin, tungsten, scheelite mixed concentrate) Value: 534,263.37 euros.
(S) We have no further information about the shipment or the reliability of the documents. We would be plsed to forward copies of the documents received to anyone interested. VILLAROSA
A Burmese civilian met with members of USDAO Rangoon and offered to sell Uranium-238. The individual had initially contacted the USDAO eight days prior with the offer. The individual provided a small bottle half-filled with metallic powder and a photocopied certifie of testing from a Chinese university dated 1992 as verifiion of the radioactive nature of the powder. During an interview, the individual claimed to be able to provide up to 2000 kg of uranium-bring rock from a loion in Kayah State, and further stated if the U.S. was not interested in purchasing the uranium, he and his associates would try to sell it to other countries, beginning with Thailand. See Ref B for further information.
(S//REL TO USA, ACGU) Details of the incident follow, ed to questions in Ref A:
A) (S//REL to USA, ACGU) Current loion of the material: Sample bottle is in transit via classified Diplomatic Pouch to Aberdeen Proving Grounds via DIA.
B) (S//REL to USA, ACGU) Transportation status of material: sample bottle in transit through diplomatic courier service. The sample was wrapped in several layers and placed inside multiple containers, including glass, ld, and wooden boxes/crates. Following instructions from DIA hdquarters, USDAO has sent the package via Diplomatic Pouch to Aberdeen Proving Grounds, through DIA, 3100 Clarendon, Arlington, VA. The box is marked Secret. Dimensions are 16 X 16 X 8 inches. Embassy Rangoon assesses that the host nation is currently unaware of USDAO receipt and shipment of the material. However, the possibility cannot be dismissed that rather than a sale for profit, the seller is attempting to assist in executing a government entrapment scheme.
C) (S//REL to USA, ACGU) As noted, Post assesses that the Burmese government is currently unaware of USDAO receipt and shipment of the sample. Burmese authorities would likely seize any additional samples or stocks of the material if aware of their existence.
D) (S//REL to USA, ACGU) Sample is in transit by commercial air via Diplomatic Pouch.
E) (S//REL to USA, ACGU) Intended destination of material: The subject indied his first choice for a possible buyer of the alleged uranium is the United States, via the Embassy in Rangoon. Other stated options include the Thai and Chinese Embassies. His intent apprs to be to sell the material in Rangoon. Subject made no mention of intent to move material across borders.
F) Unknown.
G – J) (S//NF) Subject identified himself as XXXXXXXXXXXX .
(S//REL TO USA, ACGU) The subject brought with him a small bottle weighing 1.8 ounces and msuring 70 mm long by 26 mm in diameter, which was half-filled with a grey metallic powder. He claimed the material in question was Uranium-238 in powder form. The subject claims to represent a small group that wants to sell uranium to the U.S. Embassy. According to the subject, he has 50 kilograms of uranium-containing rock or ore at an undisclosed loion in Rangoon, which is stored in a barrel that prevents the radioactivity from being toxic. He estimates there are at lst 2000 more kilograms that could be dug up from the
site in Kayah State. The uranium was only recently brought to Rangoon (subject would not give a specific time frame). The subject claimed the uranium was discovered in Kayah state in 1992.
(S//REL TO USA, ACGU) The subject claimed XXXXXXXXXXXX know about the uranium. XXXXXXXXXXXX
K) N/A.
L) N/A.
M) (S//REL TO USA, ACGU) Interview occurred in a consular interview room (used for walk-ins) at the U.S. Embassy Rangoon.
N) Additional details: Ref B contains all other available information related to this incident.

Source: Quality Control

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