Secret removal of highly-enriched uranium from Kazakhstan
In the novel, a cache of weapons-grade uranium plays a central role. Katerina, the agent in Almaty, describes it as a leftover from a clandestine program years back to spirit the uranium out of Kazakhstan following the collapse of the Soviet Union. The program's name: Project Sapphire.
Here is a detailed article by John Tirpak on the real Project Sapphire:
David Hoffman of The Washington Post wrote an extensive article on Project Sapphire in 2009:
Inside the 17-Year Mission to Secure a Legacy of Soviet Nuclear Testing
A cache of weapons-grade uranium left over from Kazakhstan's Soviet era poses an imminent threat in Performance Anomalies, and Cono risks his life to eliminate it. The Belfer Center at Harvard has published a comprehensive report on the real-life story of Kazakhstan's nuclear weapons legacy and its peaceful resolution (so far). Great reading, and proof that reality can supersede fiction. By Eben Harrell and David E. Hoffman: