Nuclear plant workers use bomb parts as souvenirs

Lax inventory controls allowed workers to take nuclear bomb parts as souvenirs, and could have let them fall into the wrong hands, a newspaper claimed on Thursday.

Thirty workers at the defunct Rocky Flats nuclear weapons plant, near Denver, took the non-radioactive parts from a rubbish bin, where they had been dumped, the Rocky Mountain News reported. The newspaper said that the report on the incident, which occurred in 1998, had only just been released by the Energy Department’s inspector general.

According to the newspaper, the official report said, “There can be no assurance” that some radioactive parts weren’t shipped to recycling companies along with harmless scrap metal.

Rocky Mountain News said that there was no evidence that this happened, however, and there was no comment from the inspector general’s office. All of the parts have reportedly now been recovered, including some, which were either used to store sweets in, or as paperweights.

However, the report stated that many other dumped bomb parts could not be accounted for by Kaiser-Hill Company, who cleaned up the plant. Deputy Manager of the Rocky Flats, Paul Golan, told the newspaper that even though radioactive metal could not get past detectors, the possibility that some classified parts may have been taken couldn’t be ruled out. One piece taken as a momento by a worker in 1998 was in fact classified.

See article linked below for more details.

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