San Antonio, TX -- When civilian contractors who use certain radioactive substances to test pipe strength or other inspections "lose" these items, news agencies widely report it and a massive search is conducted until it is found. However, as a recent case out of San Antonio illustrates, when government loses one of the most dangerous radioactive substances on the planet which could be used to create nuclear bombs to wipe out entire countries, all we hear are the proverbial crickets.
In March of 2017, two security experts traveled to San Antonio from the Department of Energy's Idaho National Laboratory on a highly sensitive mission. They were directed to retrieve extremely dangerous nuclear materials from a research lab.
As MySanAntonio.com reports, their task, according to documents and interviews, was to ensure that the radioactive materials did not fall into the wrong hands on the way back to Idaho, where the government maintains a stockpile of nuclear explosive materials for the military and others.
To ensure they got the right items, the specialists from Idaho brought radiation detectors and small samples of dangerous materials to calibrate them: specifically, a plastic-covered disk of plutonium, a material that can be used to fuel nuclear weapons, and another of cesium, a highly radioactive isotope that could potentially be used in a so-called "dirty" radioactive bomb.
These two "highly trained security experts" then checked into a Marriott Hotel on the way back to Idaho and allegedly left the ingredients which could be used to blow up a city in the back of their Ford Expedition. When they went out to the SUV the next morning, they claim that all their testing equipment and the ingredients for a nuclear bomb were "missing."
A year has passed since the plutonium -- one of the most dangerous and valuable substances on the planet -- has vanished and federal officials have yet to locate it. They also lost cesium as well, which is also still missing.
Despite repeated calls by reporters about the March 21 incident, not a single public announcement has been made by the San Antonio Police or by the FBI.
According to MySanAntonio.com, when asked, officials at the lab and in San Antonio declined to say exactly how much plutonium and cesium were missing. But Idaho lab spokeswoman Sarah Neumann said the plutonium in particular wasn't enough to be fashioned into a nuclear bomb but this is irrelevant considering how much nuclear material the government has lost.
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Adding a more ominous overtone to this situation is the fact that this plutonium is part of a larger amount that has mysteriously gone "missing" over the years which was all owned by the US military. Every time it happens, the government chooses to remain silent.
In Arlington, Virginia, on Aug. 21, 2017, President Donald Trump echoed the sentiment of his predecessor and noted that "we must prevent nuclear weapons and materials from coming into the hands of terrorists and being used against us, or anywhere in the world for that matter."
However, it appears that even the ostensible "experts" are failing miserably at this task. In fact, the government has "lost" so much plutonium and other ingredients for nuclear weapons that they have their own acronym for it -- MUF (material unaccounted for).
To be clear, over the years, the US government has lost enough radioactive material to build hundreds of nuclear bombs.A whopping six tons of material has been declared as MUF by the government, and those numbers are only through 2012.
"Considering the potential health risks associated with these materials and the potential for misuse should they fall into the wrong hands, the quantities written off were significant," the inspector general's report stated at the time.
Calling the loss of six tons of this material "significant" is a dramatic understatement considering that it only takes around 7 pounds of plutonium to create a nuclear warhead.
To put this into perspective, the amount of plutonium used in "Fat Man" -- the bomb the US dropped on Nagasaki in 1945 that led to the deaths of 80,000 civilians -- was only 14 pounds. This means the missing nuclear waste, which has been irresponsibly misplaced by our ostensible protectors, is enough to carry outover 800 Nagasakis.
But fret not free world, the government of highly trained experts is keeping you safe.