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Chinese exchange student ordered vial of uranium online to NY home

Mail trays waiting to be sorted. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Jordan Castelan)

A foreign exchange student ordered a small amount of uranium online from a Florida company and had it mailed to a Lyncourt home where she was staying, according to the Onondaga County Sheriff’s Office.

The uranium — 8.96 grams of uranium 238 — was eventually going to be sent to China, said Onondaga County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Sgt. Jon Seeber on Tuesday. He said he had no further information about why the student ordered it, or if mailing it to China would have been a crime. The student was from China, sources told Syracuse.com.

The uranium purchase can happen online and legally, Seeber said. The student ordered it from a company in Florida.

The vial of uranium was determined not to be hazardous, Seeber said.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation took the vial to Albany where it was turned over to the state Health Department, Seeber said.

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The uranium was discovered in the mail by the homeowner where the student was staying on Schaffer Avenue in Lyncourt, Seeber said.

The homeowner called 911 on Monday evening, prompting a huge response by law enforcement and others: Responders included the Lyncourt Fire Department, Syracuse Fire Department’s HazMat unit, County Emergency Management, a USPS Postal Inspector and the DEC.

Amazon.com sells uranium ore for $40 a gram. Another site, Luciteria, sells 10 grams of uranium 238 for $395.

Police and firefighters shut down a portion of Schaffer Avenue in Lyncourt while they investigated.

The homeowner did not immediately return a phone call on Tuesday morning.

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© 2019 Syracuse Media Group, N.Y.

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