Russian police have arrested seven people who were trying to sell more than 2 pounds of weapons-grade uranium, Russian television reported.

The suspects allegedly belonged to the Balashikha criminal gang. They were arrested on Tuesday in a town near Moscow, trying to sell a container of uranium-235 for $30,000 and were charged with illegal handling of nuclear materials. A later report said that according to ?preliminary information,? the materials were weapons-grade.

The seizure would be the first officially confirmed case of theft of weapons-grade material in Russia, and would further tarnish the weak reputation of Russian nuclear security.

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The U.S. Health and Human Services Department has purchased 1.6 million doses of potassium iodide in case of a possible release of radioactive materials from terrorist attacks or nuclear power plant accidents. The department bought one million adult-strength tablets and 600,000 children?s doses in December for $180,000, spokesman Bill Pierce said. It plans to spend $1 million allocated in an emergency spending measure for another five million to six million doses.

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