Idaho State University Reports Missing Weapons Grade Plutonium
A “small amount” of radioactive weapons-grade plutonium is missing from Idaho State University. You probably have questions now, but understand, by the conclusion of this article, you are sure to have more (so read at your own risk).
The size of the deadly radioactive plutonium that’s missing is roughly the size of a quarter, or, a 30th of an ounce. While this may not sound like a ton, it is more than capable of producing a dirty bomb and some sort of nuclear fallout. This plutonium is the compound used in nuclear reactors worldwide.
The missing plutonium has been reported by The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
“The NRC has very rigorous controls for the use and storage of radioactive materials as evidenced by this enforcement action,” said Victor Dricks, NRC spokesman.
“Unfortunately, because there was a lack of sufficient historical records to demonstrate the disposal pathway employed in 2003, the source in question had to be listed as missing,” he further stated. “The radioactive source in question poses no direct health issue or risk to public safety.”
So not only is deadly plutonium missing but it’s apparently been missing for about 15 years.
ISU has stated that it intends to improve the way it handles inventory with deadly chemical agents, citing confidently that they have “responded in an appropriate and responsible fashion.” This feels like something Old Navy would say after losing a shipment of back to school jeans.
Now, you might be wondering why a University would be handling plutonium that has generally been considered incredibly dangerous ever since Karen Silkwood died in a suspicious car accident in the true film, Silkwood. And, well, since 9-11. And since ISIS and foreign terrorists are constantly seeking ways to create small dirty bombs that inflict mass casualties.
As it turns out, there is really not great reasons. ISU works with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Idaho National Laboratory. This allows them to lose quarter sized amounts of plutonium. ISU’s role in using the plutonium is to find ways to ensure nuclear waste containers don’t leak. As well, they are to find enhanced ways to detect plutonium being imported by nefarious parties who want to decimate U.S. communities.
Not listed in their role of responsibilities is losing plutonium samples for a decade and a half worth of time. But that didn’t seem to stop them (obviously).
ISU shows records that the missing plutonium sample was on the campus during the 2003 and 2004 time span, but they don’t show that it was ever disposed of in any capacity. It almost seems as if they want to blame a clerical error, because, let’s face it, all other possibilities aren’t pretty thoughts.
The last instance of the plutonium being documented was on November 23, 2003. There was a note that it was “pending disposal of the next waste shipment.”
So now the question is, why was it never documented for disposal? I’ll spare us all my urge to write out a science-fiction dramatic narrative that ends with certain apocalypse.
In the end, this is no laughing matter. A University has now proven to carelessly handle deadly nuclear compounds. Just the idea that we are running such programs on university grounds is a bit terrifying to say the least.
Federal officials have recommended an $8,500 fine.
Photo by NNSANews
Author: Jim Satney
PrepForThat’s Editor and lead writer for political, survival, and weather categories.