View Full Version : Mobutu and Nuclear Power

Tom Odom
03-08-2007, 03:16 PM
I always thought the genius that decided to put a reactor in the Congo should have been strapped to the cooling unit.:eek:

Here is the latest:

Congo arrest over missing uranium (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/6430031.stm):

Enriched uranium is used for nuclear power generation and weapons
The Democratic Republic of Congo's top atomic energy official is being held over allegations of uranium smuggling.
Atomic energy centre director Fortunat Lumu and an aide have been questioned since their arrest on Tuesday.

A large quantity of uranium is reported to have gone missing in recent years, although state prosecutor Tshimanga Mukeba did not reveal any figures.

He told the BBC an "important quantity" of uranium was taken from the nuclear centre and they were investigating.

DR Congo's daily newspaper Le Phare reported that more than 100 bars of uranium as well as an unknown quantity of uranium contained in helmet-shaped cases, had disappeared from the nuclear centre in Kinshasa as part of a vast trafficking of the material going back years.

But the BBC's Kinshasa correspondent, Arnaud Zajtman, says that as of yet, no evidence has been made public to support the allegations made by the newspaper.

Creation of centre

A mine in Congo's southern province of Katanga supplied the uranium that was used in the atomic bombs that were dropped by the Americans on the Japanese town of Hiroshima in 1945.

To thank and reward Congo, the Americans funded the creation of Congo's nuclear centre in 1958.

Another "GREAT" idea gone astray....


03-08-2007, 03:56 PM
are found chiefly in Canada, Zaire, and the United States.

"A United Nations report, dated July 18, said there was 'no doubt' that a huge shipment of smuggled uranium 238, uncovered by customs officials in Tanzania, was transported from the Lubumbashi mines in the Congo. Tanzanian customs officials told The Sunday Times it was destined for the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas, and was stopped on October 22 last year during a routine check."

The UN report, however, does not mention Iran. It is only the Tanzanian official who does. The article also quotes the Tanzanian official on his description of the uranium amounts found in each container and how it was located. "This one was very radioactive. When we opened the container it was full of drums of coltan. Each drum contains about 50kg of ore. When the first and second rows were removed, the ones after that were found to be drums of uranium."

Tom, He should have been thrown into the river and be crock food :D

More here:
http://www.rawstory.com/news/2006/Intelligence_officials_doubt_Iran_uranium_claims_0 818.html

03-10-2007, 03:39 PM

The person (administration) to blame is Eisenhower (Einstein and other advisors to his administration). Check out the Atoms for Peace and Project Plowshares. Both if you are unaware of them will literally blow your mind. Bottom line the intent was to de-militarize nuclear technology so that fissionable materials would be consumed by the production of energy and or used for peaceful construction projects. Hindsight--a major set back to anti-proliferation.

Check out these sites for summaries:


03-10-2007, 04:24 PM
Hey Troufion !
A great link. Never knew this bravo sierra was soooo old !

Wonder if Eisenhower ever hung out with Mobutu :eek:
Now that would be bad magic even today !

one cannot ignore the fact that the Atoms for Peace program also accelerated nuclear proliferation by making it easier for some states to pursue their nuclear weapons ambitions. Although it may be more obvious today than in 1953, the fundamental dilemma remains unchanged—how can a policy prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons capabilities while at the same time promoting the benefits of nuclear energy if the basic raw materials and technology for both are essentially the same?

Tom Odom
03-12-2007, 01:20 PM
To be fair, remember also that in 1958 there was absolutely no movement toward Congolese Independence--in fact the Belgians in 1959 rejected a concept bulit on a 30 year transition to independence. It was deemed "too radical."

Then the following year the Belgians reversed themselves and took everything they could as they left (many stayed).

The Katanga War was interesting because the US supporters for the Belgian operation to break Katanga (where the mines were) away were all tied to the Eisenhower camp; JFK was against the move so you had a mini-war between the Republicans and the Democrats over the Congo to match the war between the US/UN/DRC and the Katangans/Belgians. My friend COL BEM Fred Vandewalle (ret) was the Belgian achitect of the Katanga secession with Moise Tshombe as the leader. VdW had been Chef de Securite of the Belgian Congo up to independence. When he and Tshombe "lost" in Katanga, VdW returned to Belgiuim amd Tshombe went into exile; both returned in 1964 to end the Simba Rebellion.

But in relation to the origin if the reactor--it was placed there before the Congo "went South" and it became too much a political hot potato to then ask for its return.


Tom Odom
03-12-2007, 02:35 PM
from Carl in his way home:

World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz and European Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid, Louis Michel, are expected to arrive in Kinshasa today for a two-day visit, local media reported yesterday. The European Union (EU) is the main financier of the electoral process and major donor of humanitarian assistance to the country. On its part, the World Bank is financing the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration process (DDRP) of ex-combatants of the civil and regional wars from 1998 to 2003.

Democratic Republic of Congo's top nuclear research official has been arrested, the government said on Wednesday, after a Kinshasa newspaper reported uranium had gone missing from an atomic institute in the city. Congo's Shinkolobwe mine (now closed) provided high-quality uranium for the Manhattan Project, the secret U.S. programme that produced the two atomic weapons dropped on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in World War Two. Illegal mining and including international mafia is reported around Shinkolobwe mine.

Katanga province governor has instructed customs services to stop mineral exports to Zambia under allegations of intensive smuggling. Zambia officials reacted to the measure asking DRC to extradite the governor about a pending case in Lusaka about his elder brother involved in illegal business. The measure aims at promoting local mining industry instead of exporting raw material.

Some Congolese refugees who had sought asylum in Rwanda during the crisis crossed the border back to DRC yesterday without UNHCR assistance. The army provided trucks and escort to help them reach the towns of Bunagana and Tshengerero in Rutshuru territory.

and from a later report:

Authorities in DRC say they have dismantled an international network set up to illegally use of uranium mined there, BBC correspondent in Kinshasa reported today quoting Scientific Research Minister. Two officials are arrested in a case connected to the disappearance of an important quantity of uranium. "It was a criminal network", the minister said without giving any more details.
During a visit to Ituri on March 7 2007, Ross Mountain, the UN Deputy Special Representative for the Secretary General in the DRC, emphasised MONUC's view on the stalled DDR process, saying that the 'DRC government should take the disarmament process into their own hands.' Although there is a decision to redeploy troops formerly committed to the security of the then vice presidents, objections erupted from opposition sides. UN special envoy will be called for arbitration once again. And the 5th mixed brigade is so small that one should properly call it a battalion instead (of 900 troops).
Some of the refugees who should depart Rwanda on a voluntary and spontaneous repatriation are still held on the Rwanda side of the border because of lack of transport to Masisi. Those who managed to reach their home towns of Bunagana, Runyoni and Tshengerero had rented 7 trucks.

03-12-2007, 03:02 PM
Hey Tom !

If we go to Le Phares (paid by somebody else) website:
http://web.worldbank.org/ (follow the country link to DRC)
They state that over 100 bars of uranium are missing along with an unknown quantity of helmet-shaped containers (non-specific) of raw uranium.

Back in the 70's it was just one bar of uranium missing :eek:

Better ring Ike :D

12-14-2007, 11:38 AM
Congo keeps uranium riches under wraps (http://www.guardian.co.uk/feedarticle?id=7140687)

Democratic Republic of Congo has flirted with reviving its once-great uranium mining sector, but insists that for now it will keep its radioactive treasure trove underground for future generations to reap the profits.

Speculation has mounted that Congo would also relaunch commercial uranium mining, fuelled by a 'will they? won't they?' courtship with London-listed Brinkley Mining Plc over a joint venture with Congo's atomic energy agency to explore, mine, and export uranium under an exclusive contract.
Brinkley signed a memorandum with Congo's Ministry of Scientific Research in early 2007 but the deal was rejected by a new post-election government in March.

As Congo casts around for funds to rebuild its ruined infrastructure -- including a $5 billion loan from China to be repaid partly with mineral rights -- some see using untapped uranium reserves as essential.
"Given the current price of uranium and the country's needs, I think it is a necessity," said CGEA head Francois Lubala Toto.

12-14-2007, 04:23 PM
1. What type of reactor are we speaking of?

2. Who the hell's been operating/maintaining the thing all these years?

3. How did it not go BOOM during the period when everything collapsed in the DRC?

12-14-2007, 04:41 PM
Hey Penta !

1. What type of reactor are we speaking of?

2. Who the hell's been operating/maintaining the thing all these years?

3. How did it not go BOOM during the period when everything collapsed in the DRC?

Here's a decent link to the history (http://www.globalsecurity.org/wmd/world/congo/index.html). Basically however, the DR Congo's power is via a hydroelectric dam that for years was maintained and operated by a US company.

Regards, Stan