Arms Control: Sapphire's Hot Glow

A clandestine operation funnels nuclear material out of Central Asia for safekeeping in Tennessee

Many of the Americans had never been out of the U.S. before, much less part of a hazardous clandestine operation. Suddenly, they were being whisked aboard C- 5 transports for the flight to Kazakhstan, the huge and barren former Soviet republic. Their mission: to pack more than 1,300 lbs. of highly enriched uranium into barrels for shipment back to the U.S. to prevent the material from falling into the wrong hands. They had only a few weeks to perform the delicate procedure. The harsh Central Asian winter was coming, and once it arrived, it would be difficult to fly out of...

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