Kyrgyz law enforcement agencies have prevented the sale of 35 kilograms of ytterbium oxide, a strategic material used in the nuclear industry, akipress.org and Interfax reported on 15 April. The substance was allegedly being offered for sale by two people who had obtained it from the former uranium complex where they used to work, according to the Kyrgyz Interior Ministry. One of them had reportedly kept the material in his home in a Bishkek suburb since 1984. Akipress.org noted that this was the second such incident this year. In January, 460 kilograms of europium oxide, another substance used in the nuclear industry, were stolen. The thieves have not been caught.
Eurasianet, April 16, 2003