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US sees harm in report about missing uranium

The national interest may have been harmed by a Scripps-Howard News Service report that enough uranium is missing from a secret nuclear weapons factory to make 85 atomic bombs, a government agency says.

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''The information could lead to the revelation of how many weapons the United States has produced,'' Department of Energy spokesman Wayne Range said Tuesday.

The documents reportedly showed 1,710 pounds of bomb-grade uranium have vanished from the Y-12 Plant over the past 35 years. The uranium inventory at government nuclear weapons plants is classified, and officials said anyone who leaks or receives the information is subject to prosecution under the Atomic Energy Act.