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A goof. A gaffe. A flub. A boo-boo. A mix-up. These are all words that are typically used to describe a minor incident with little to no serious consequences.
As much as some of the higher-ups at Idaho State University are trying to spin the misplacement of weapons-grade plutonium as an NBD situation, though, it seems like this probably falls more in the realm of “colossal fuck-up” than an “oops, my bad” scenario.
From Idaho State Journal:
A small amount of radioactive weapons-grade plutonium about the size of a U.S. quarter is missing from Idaho State University, which was using it for research, leading federal officials on Friday to propose an $8,500 fine.
The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission said ISU can’t account for about a 30th of an ounce of the material that’s used in nuclear reactors.
The amount is too small to make a nuclear bomb, NRC spokesman Victor Dricks said, but could be used to make a dirty bomb to spread radioactive contamination.
Dr. Cornelis Van der Schyf, vice president for research at ISU, blamed partially completed paperwork from 15 years ago as the school tried to dispose of the plutonium.
“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 said in a statement to The Associated Press. “The radioactive source in question poses no direct health issue or risk to public safety.”
Since it’s my job as a psuedo-journalist to ask the tough questions, I’m really not all that concerned with the nuclear implications or the logistical nightmare presented by this whole thing. I’ll leave that boring shit for the Associated Press to sort through. Rather, my question is substantially more hard-hitting; some might say even Woodward and Bernstein-esque. Here it goes: Should ISU now be forced to change their fight song to Imagine Dragons’ “Radioactive?”
I mean, it seems fair to me. Maybe more of an on-the-nose type deal than an actual punishment, but if you conveniently misplace enough plutonium to make a dirty bomb, then you kind of have to be that “Radioactive” school from now on. Those are just the rules.
So for all the ISU students out there, memorize these lyrics if you haven’t already. You’ll need to be able to scream them from the top of your lungs by the time football season starts.
[via Idaho State Journal]
Image via Pixabay