Gunmen fire on uranium convoy in Brazil; no injuries

The company that operates a nuclear plant in Brazil says that gunmen fired on a convoy carrying uranium fuel, but says they weren't targeting the radioactive material

RIO DE JANEIRO -- Gunmen fired on a convoy transporting uranium fuel to a Brazilian nuclear plant as it drove past a rough neighborhood in the state of Rio de Janeiro, but the company operating the plant said the attack didn't appear to be related to the radioactive material.

The state-owned Eletronuclear company said men in the Frade neighborhood shot at a police car that was escorting the convoy and police returned fire on Tuesday, but there were no injuries or arrests. The trucks carrying the fuel did not stop and reached the Angra dos Reis nuclear plant safely.

The company said the criminals apparently were caught off-guard by the convoy.

"Some bandits, frightened by the strong police presence, shot at a (police) vehicle", Eletronuclear said.

Brazil's Federal Highway Police said it had seized a dozen 9mm bullets that had been left behind by attackers at the scene.

Authorities did not say whether an investigation had been opened, but the G1 news portal reported there were police operations Wednesday in Frade and another Angra dos Reis neighborhood.

The incident raise security concerns in the area, home to Brazil's sole power plant and where drug traffickers are known to operate.

In 2017, an American diplomat was shot in the foot during an attempted robbery on a coastal road in the tourist town of Angra dos Reis. Earlier that year, Eloise Dixon, a British tourist, was also hit by a bullet when she and her family strayed into another rough neighborhood.

Electronuclear said the uranium transported was in its "natural state" and therefore did not pose a threat to the population or the environment.