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London Nuke Plant Loses 30 Kilos of Plutonium

CowboyNeal posted more than 9 years ago | from the or-is-it-tonnes dept.

Science 613

solafide writes "The Globe and Mail reports 'A British nuclear-reprocessing plant [at Sellafield] cannot account for nearly 30 kilograms of plutonium, but authorities believe it is an accounting issue rather than a loss of potential bomb-making material, the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority said.' Although it says later plutonium is only 1% of what they deal with there. The Times Online has more details."

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Bomb em! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11707825)

Whoa. Them Londerners is gonna build one of them atomic bombs and get us. Hey, GWB! Let's get em. The US is gonna bomb London now! Look out Tony Blair, you thought you was gonna trick us eh? Well, your gonna take a missile up the tailpipe from good ol Bush. Fsckin traitorous terrorist limey brit bastards. Ha! and you all thought that Iran and Syria would be next. We sure fooled you!

Re:Bomb em! (5, Informative)

amliebsch (724858) | more than 9 years ago | (#11707864)

To pre-empt the tin-foil hatters: it is not possible to construct a nuclear weapon from power-grade plutonium, and terrorists do not have the technology to refine it into weapons-grade plutonium. However, it would make a nasty dirty bomb.

Re:Bomb em! (5, Informative)

cameldrv (53081) | more than 9 years ago | (#11707896)

That's not exactly true. Several governments have investigated the possiblity of making bombs from mixed-isotope Pu. It is possible. However even the best designs have a chance of a fizzle due to premature fission when the critical mass is being compressed. Making a bomb from power grade Pu is definitely quite a bit harder than making one out of pure Pu-239, which is harder than making one out of Uranium.

Re:Bomb em! (4, Informative)

billsoxs (637329) | more than 9 years ago | (#11707988)

While the radiation is a problem - the chemical issues with Pu are almost worse. The stuff is more poisonous than Arsenic

WOW!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11707994)

With 1 gram of Plutonium, the terrorists can explode a house.

With 2 grams of Plutonium, the terrorists can explode a high building.

With 10 grams of Plutonium, the terrorists can explode a small town.

With 30 grams of Plutonium, the terrorists can explode a big town.

With 100 grams of Plutonium, the terrorists can explode a small city.

With 200 grams of Plutonium, the terrorists can explode a big city.

With 400 grams of Plutonium, the terrorists can explode a land of 1000 Km^2.

With 1 Kilo of Plutonium, the terrorists can explode half country (100,000 Km^2).

With 2 Kilos of Plutonium, the terrorists can explode fews countries.

With 4 Kilos of Plutonium, the terrorists can explode fews bigger countries and many smaller countries.

... With 20 Kilos of Plutonium, the terrorists can explode all The Earth & The Moon.
WOOWWWWWWWWW!!!!, impresssslyyyyy!!!!

With 30 Kilos, it's heavyly useless!!!.

Very cheap!!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11708080)

Bill Gates has 500 Kilos of Plutonium bomb (worth: $1,000,000,000) in his house, in RedMond.

He will explode it when he dies.

HOOOooooooo!!! Blue Screen of the Death!!!

Re:Bomb em! (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11707917)

The first article linked doesn't say what grade of plutonium it is, and the second article seems to be playing silly buggers right now. But to expand on this: "weapons grade plutonium" is 93% pure Pu-239. If there's more than 7% Pu-240 in the mix, the chances are that the Pu-240 will spontaneously fission, making it next to impossible to assemble a critical mass that is necessary for the nuclear explosion.

Power grade plutonium doesn't have that problem to the same extent, because the reaction doesn't have to happen at a precisely controlled moment.

Separating out Pu-239 from Pu-240 is a similar problem to separating U-235 from U-238: slow, tedious, and lots of centrifuges and similar. Because the relative weights are so close together, it's a significantly harder problem. This is why the production of weapons grade plutonium requires very regular reprocessing of fuel from the reactor core; otherwise, you'll get too much Pu-240, and it becomes too hard.

Re:Bomb em! (0)

DongleFondle (655040) | more than 9 years ago | (#11708005)

Why the *FUCK* do you all know all this!!!

wrong element... (1)

John Seminal (698722) | more than 9 years ago | (#11708029)

it is not possible to construct a nuclear weapon from power-grade plutonium

it is possible to make a nuclear bomb out of any element. for some odd reason, people think radioactive = nuclear bomb.

while it will not tell you anything about bombs, watch october sky to see something about thinking.

Re:Bomb em! (3, Funny)

oil (594341) | more than 9 years ago | (#11708052)

Nasty and dirty? Ooooh!

Re:Bomb em! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11707872)

The Queen is just waiting for a moment of weakness to take back the colony.

Still need to find the WDM... (0, Flamebait)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 9 years ago | (#11707963)

Probably been planted in Iraq!

Re:Bomb em! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11708017)

I hope whoever has it doesn't look on the internets for bomb instructions.

Geee... (4, Funny)

alex_guy_CA (748887) | more than 9 years ago | (#11707828)

I know it's here somewhere.

Re:Geee... (1)

Propaganda13 (312548) | more than 9 years ago | (#11708047)

Stupid Metric system always screwing things up...what are we talking about...I just saw kilos and thought I'd start the standard metric flame thread before anyone else did.

Please troll away

88 mph (5, Funny)

froggero1 (848930) | more than 9 years ago | (#11707829)

sweet, I'll finally have fuel for my flux capacitor so I can get back to the 80's!

Re:88 mph (0, Offtopic)

Mr. Fusion (235351) | more than 9 years ago | (#11707854)

Yes, but did they find a box full of shiny used pinball machine parts?

Re:88 mph (0, Offtopic)

John Seminal (698722) | more than 9 years ago | (#11708014)

dude, take me with you.

if i knew then what i know now i am sure i would not be a virgin.

Re:88 mph (1, Funny)

froggero1 (848930) | more than 9 years ago | (#11708072)

I'd want to go back for all the crazy amounts of money you could make in the process.

Imagine in 1985 investing a few thousand in M$... or perhaps cashing in on the bre-x scandal. Or just betting correctly on the superbowl at the _start_ of every year. Wouldn't need to work man...

Nothing to worry about (5, Funny)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 9 years ago | (#11707830)

Kim Jong Il is taking good care of it. He says so regularly!

1% (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11707831)

1%? What's the rest? Radonium? Poisonium? Uruntinum?! Oh no!!

FP (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11707832)

FP MEEEEEEEEEEG

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Oh yeah (2, Insightful)

metlin (258108) | more than 9 years ago | (#11707834)

Accountability?

Seems like nobody needs that irky little thing anymore. Not even if you're dealing with stuff that could blow up half the world.

Sheesh.

Re:Oh yeah (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 9 years ago | (#11707938)

They must be Klingon accountants:

"Bookeeping is for honorless cowards! True Klingons just wait until the theif[1] comes back, and slaughters him in glorious battle!"

[1] Klingons think spelling is also for cowards, BTW.

Re:Oh yeah (1)

John Seminal (698722) | more than 9 years ago | (#11708074)

Eagle, Hero, Zipper. On THREE!!!!

I say kill 'em all, and let the paramedics sort them out!!

In other news... (5, Funny)

Your_Mom (94238) | more than 9 years ago | (#11707836)

A small boy with a oval shaped head was seen today in Leicestershire(sp?) saying "VICTORY IS MINE!"

I know! (1)

iosmart (624285) | more than 9 years ago | (#11707838)

Maybe Doc took it...for his time travel DeLorean. http://www.delorean.com/

Re:I know! (1)

irokitt (663593) | more than 9 years ago | (#11707870)

But the TARDIS never looked like a DeLorean, it looked like a police box. Someone needs to brush up on foreign television...

(For my fellow Americans there is a link. [wikipedia.org] )

Re:I know! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11708016)

too bad you can't go back in time and post this before someone beat you to the joke ;)

Re:I know! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11708027)

This just in. Everything you post is worthless. Get off the internet.

Oops. (1)

Primotech (731340) | more than 9 years ago | (#11707841)

Wasenme.

Nothing to see here. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11707844)

Please, move along.

Great Scott! (2, Funny)

modifried (605582) | more than 9 years ago | (#11707846)

1.21 Gigawatts?

Re:Great Scott! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11707966)

That gets moderated to a 4? Holy fucking stupid moderators batman.

Re:Great Scott! (1)

khrtt (701691) | more than 9 years ago | (#11708034)

Jigawatts, if I'm not mistaking

London is nowhere near Sellafield. (5, Informative)

Rexz (724700) | more than 9 years ago | (#11707847)

I don't say that Boston is the same as New York. Please don't do this to my country.

Re:London is nowhere near Sellafield. (1)

chrisbtoo (41029) | more than 9 years ago | (#11707906)

I'm guessing it's due to The Globe and Mail's "London -- A British nuclear-reprocessing plant...".

Rather amateurish error to make, though.

Re:London is nowhere near Sellafield. (5, Funny)

fm6 (162816) | more than 9 years ago | (#11707913)

I got news for you: most Americans think that Boston is the same as New York!

Re:London is nowhere near Sellafield. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11707996)

This may come as a shock, but most Americans don't think about Boston or New York at all.

Well, except maybe in October.

Re:London is nowhere near Sellafield. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11708037)

I always thought that Boston was where you got Beans and New York was where you reprocessed them.

Yeah go ahead and mod it to off topic - but it is funny

Re:London is nowhere near Sellafield. (1)

ikkonoishi (674762) | more than 9 years ago | (#11708059)

At least we don't have this type of confusion in Birmingham.

Shut the fuck up, Limey (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11707927)

Re:London is nowhere near Sellafield. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11707968)

Some perspective for you English:

Scale size of Britain: .
Scale size of America: |- From sea to shining sea and with a ton of plains and mountains and desert and farmland -|

Also, since you have no real open land in the entire country, it all looks like one large, connected city.

Making a "mistake" like saying a city is near another is very easy to make.

Quot Erat Demonstrandum

Re:London is nowhere near Sellafield. (3, Informative)

Peter Cooper (660482) | more than 9 years ago | (#11708066)

But at least Boston is comparable with New York. Sellafield is about 300 miles away from London (basically at the opposite end of the country) and is a tiny place in the middle of nowhere.

Terror alert Moving Pictures (1)

thundercatslair (809424) | more than 9 years ago | (#11707851)

It was Osma Bin Laden! I bet he is hiding in Iraq right now with all that plutonium building WMDs right now as we speak! To bad they pulled out the inspectors!

No one uses atomic weapons these days (1)

Dancin_Santa (265275) | more than 9 years ago | (#11707853)

At least not in any way beyond waving them around and acting brave. The real waging of war is done with guns, tanks, and the occasional butcher's knife.

I hope they find the plutonium, though. Marty McFly needs to get back to the future.

Priorities? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11707860)

Why are people talking about RFID for every schoolchild, or GPS tracking for every car, but nothing like this is done for plutonium?

Uranium regeneration is a good thing though (5, Interesting)

grqb (410789) | more than 9 years ago | (#11707866)

Uranium regeneration is a good thing. A nuclear reactor only uses about 4% of the uranium until it has to be either discarded or regenerated (because of reduced efficiency issues) but the regeneration process makes plutonium, which can then be used in a bomb. Most of the time, the plutonium is actually mixed with uranium and it can then be used as a fuel.

Hopefully fusion will come along sometime soon [thewatt.com] ...

Re:Uranium regeneration is a good thing though (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11707942)

Depends on how it's reprocessed. If you use the fuel until it's considered "spent", the plutonium in the mix will be a combination of Pu-239 and Pu-240, and will only really be useful for power generation and/or dirty bombs. For weapons grade plutonium, you need a high (93%+) concentration of Pu-239; Pu-240 will render it useless for that purpose. If you don't pull the fuel out and reprocess it on a very regular basis, you'll get enough Pu-240 in there to contaminate the mix, and you can forget about weapons grade material.

Re:Uranium regeneration is a good thing though (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11708006)

Hmmm...it's always fishy when somebody knows that much about this stuff...

This happened in the U.S. too. (4, Interesting)

zymano (581466) | more than 9 years ago | (#11707867)

Remember after 9/11 and some nuclear plant had some rods missing. It was another accounting error i think. Never heard much more about it.

Re:This happened in the U.S. too. (1, Funny)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 9 years ago | (#11707909)

... of course not. Out of sight out of mind.

Why let things like that "seem more important" than say "funding for my good 'ol boys" for a war in Iraq? .... GOOOOOO AMERICA!

Fuck you, tom (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11707946)

Pompous dickhole.

Re:Fuck you, tom (1)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 9 years ago | (#11707969)

Oh you love me. You know you do.

Who needs a hug? Come here you sad sad little AC.

Tom

Re:This happened in the U.S. too. (1)

John Seminal (698722) | more than 9 years ago | (#11708060)

... of course not. Out of sight out of mind.

The truth is out there. But who is looking???????????? Do YOU care enough? Me neither. I got money to make. When a nuke goes off, I'll just do what everyone else does.

Re:This happened in the U.S. too. (2, Funny)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 9 years ago | (#11708075)

"hen a nuke goes off, I'll just do what everyone else does."

Find a twinkie factory?

Tom

Re:This happened in the U.S. too. (0, Flamebait)

John Seminal (698722) | more than 9 years ago | (#11708001)

If the terrorists succeed and set off a bomb in the USA, more power to them. If bush was born poor and his family was slaughtered, he would be doing the exact same thing as the guys who flew into the WTC. as the louisiana chef used to say... "I gaurentee it!"

Re:This happened in the U.S. too. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11708073)

No, that's what *you* would be doing.

Bwa? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11707868)

You'd think that, with all the brou-ha-ha about terrorism and weapons of mass destruction, that they'd be a little more careful. Apart from anything else, that much material, brought into a small enough space, would spontaneously go into a self-sustaining fission reaction. Not an explosion -- you need to have the right conditions for a fission reaction to turn into an explosion -- but nasty anyway. For that reason alone, you'd expect a bit more care in tracking plutonium and enriched uranium.

And if they're saying that this is within standards, then obviously the standards need to be tightened up. A gram or two isn't too serious, but thirty kilograms? Jeez.

It's been often said: the hard part of building a nuclear bomb isn't building it. It's getting the fissile materials ...

Jokes (5, Informative)

Bonhamme Richard (856034) | more than 9 years ago | (#11707880)

You all joke, but a nuclear submarine goes around the world on a lump the size of a golf ball.

A nuclear weapon only uses about a grapefruit sized piece of fissionable material.

And only about 8 grams of matter were actually converted to enegery by the original nukes used against Japan.

30 kg missing seems like a big deal to me. I'd like to know for sure whether its an accounting issue or someone else has it.

Re:Jokes (1)

irokitt (663593) | more than 9 years ago | (#11707919)

I'd like to know for sure whether its an accounting issue or someone else has it.


Actually, it wasn't an accounting issue. You see, the spreadsheet was run on a Pentium...

Re:Jokes (5, Insightful)

khrtt (701691) | more than 9 years ago | (#11707954)

A nuclear weapon only uses about a grapefruit sized piece of fissionable material.

True. Now try to guess how much a grapefruit-sized piece of plutonium would weigh.

For any Americans who are reading... (5, Informative)

BovineSpirit (247170) | more than 9 years ago | (#11707881)

Sellafield is right up in the north west of england. London is in the south east. The people who decided where to put Sellafield(then Windscale) are, however, based in London. Strangely they decided the best place for it was as far away as possible.

Re:For any Americans who are reading... (4, Funny)

GoofyBoy (44399) | more than 9 years ago | (#11707979)


Um... where's England?

Re:For any Americans who are reading... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11708049)

In Yurop.

I think there are dragons there.

Trigger-happy reporting? Not on /. ! (5, Informative)

toby (759) | more than 9 years ago | (#11707885)

As usual, a quick cross-check would have revealed that this story has been subsequently qualified in the UK press as somewhat less of the sensation initially implied:
British Nuclear Fuels, which runs the Sellafield nuclear complex in Cumbria, claimed yesterday that no nuclear material had gone missing from the site ... a spokesman for BNFL said similar discrepancies have been recorded in audits since 1977, and do not represent real losses of radioactive material ... it is impossible to know precisely how much plutonium is at a nuclear site. Plutonium is created inside nuclear fuel rods while reactors are running, so scientists can only estimate how much plutonium is in them. Only when spent fuel rods are reprocessed, by dissolving them in acid to separate out the plutonium, uranium and other materials, can the true quantities be measured...
--UK Guardian, 18 Feb 2005. [guardian.co.uk]

Why this makes sense (4, Informative)

Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) | more than 9 years ago | (#11707886)

If you reprocess tons of spent fuel then those little fraction-of-a-percent measurement errors add up. Also, in a big plant you could have an ounce of plutonium stuck in a filter one place, another ounce elsewhere, and add up to tens of kilos.

What's scary is that the margins of error are big enough to include several bombs worth of material.

Re:Why this makes sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11707930)

Hmm, no. Ounces can only add up to pounds. You need to add up grams to get kilos.

A little out of date, /. (4, Informative)

saundo (312306) | more than 9 years ago | (#11707889)

The BBC has had this story since yesterday!

From what I read on http://news.bbc.co.uk, the "missing" plutonium was a result of the way in which material was accounted for, not an actual loss.

Try Cumbria not London (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11707890)

I know the first word in the article is London, but that's where the story was posted. The last time I looked Sellafield was in Cumbria, see Sellafield [sellafield.com] for more details of this glowing area of the U.K.

Re:Try Cumbria not London (2, Insightful)

dpmdpm (201076) | more than 9 years ago | (#11707972)

I know it's a terrible stereotype that Americans have no idea about the geography of the outside world, but a 250 mile error (*Paris* is closer to London than Sellafield is) makes BNFL's 30kg look utterly innocent...

by the beard of zeuss (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11707895)

1.05 Bushels!

Accounting Issue (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11707904)

Couldn't you guys at least wait to see if it's really missing? It's probably right next to those two disks from Los Alamos. Sheesh.

Invade England (1)

Space_Soldier (628825) | more than 9 years ago | (#11707908)

Great! Now, those British blokes are going to be lynched for proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Bush is going to invade that island and make it the 51st state. In other news, the queen, suspected of drinking a suspect cocktail, has turned into a gigantic, mean, green, old lady terrorizing the common folks into bowing before her smelly legs.

Re:Invade England (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11708081)

Hmph. It is already is the 51st state. Blair is Bush's bitch.

Of course it's not like Blair doesn't realize that Bush has the IQ of gibbon.... but then Blair is evil incarnate so no one really knows his plan other than it is do with his rotten corrupt place 'in history'

Please just get rid of corrupt Blair at the next election.

Times Online Article (Thank Mirrordot) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11707910)

Sellafield 'lost' plutonium
By Angela Jameson, Industrial Correspondent

Britain's major nuclear site at Sellafield has "lost" almost 30 kilograms of plutonium, according to figures published today.

The annual audit of nuclear material at all of Britain's civil nuclear installations revealed that the plutonium -- enough for seven or eight nuclear bombs -- was classified as "material unaccounted for" last year.

The revelation that such a large amount of plutonium has apparently disappeared has been described as merely an "accounting issue" by British Nuclear Fuels, which operates the plant.

However, it is likely to cause embarrassment as the British Nuclear Group and the Department of Trade and Industry are weeks away from completing a huge shake-up in the nuclear industry, with the creation of an independent Nuclear Decommissioning Authority.

The discrepancy compares with a 19kg loss at Sellafield in 2003 and a cumulative loss of about 50kg at the Cumbrian plant over the past ten years. A BNG spokeswoman said: "There is always a discrepancy between the physical inventory and the book inventory.

"Some years there is an apparent gain, some years there is an apparent loss."

The UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) said the figure was within international standards of expected measurement accuracies.

The International Atomic Energy Authority (IAEA) lays down rules for the permitted levels of "material unaccounted for", which must not exceed about 3 per cent of the plutonium throughput.

Given the huge quantities reprocessed at Sellafield, this year's discrepancy falls within these standards. But independent experts have described the figure as deeply worrying.

"They make this claim of an auditing problem but I would expect them to be overzealous in the current climate of fears about terrorism," said John Large, an independent nuclear consultant.

Dr Frank Barnaby, a specialist in nuclear weapons, said: "There will always be some material unaccounted for but this is a dramatic development.

"This is a major reason for not reprocessing spent nuclear fuel because you can't tell what the material unaccounted for is."

All nuclear material at Sellafield, including the content of contaminated ponds and any emissions, are measured every year, according to guidelines endorsed by the IAEA.

The fact that the figures do not balance is embarrassing rather than sinister. They do not imply that any material has been improperly diverted, or that there has been a breach of security at the site.

Keeping track of just how much material is present at the plant at any one time is tricky, and subject to errors. Spent nuclear fuel rods, which have been inside nuclear reactors for about five years, are taken to Sellafield for reprocessing.

They are allowed to cool in ponds for up to four years before they are treated. The process then involves cutting up the fuel rods, dissolving them in acid and then separating the solution into three streams -- uranium, plutonium, and high-level waste.

At each stage of the process the material is weighed and calculations made of the amounts of plutonium it contains. All this has to be done remotely behind shielding because of the radioactivity involved.

At the end of the process the weight of the plutonium recovered ought to balance with the estimates of the amount put in. They seldom do, but the discrepancy is rarely as large as it is this year.

Small measuring errors can accumulate to produce large discrepancies, as they have done this year.

A spokesman for the UKAEA said today: "The MUF (material unaccounted for) figures for 2003/04 were all within international standards of expected measurement accuracies for closing a nuclear material balance at the type of facility concerned.

"There is no evidence to suggest that any of the apparent losses reported were real losses of nuclear material."

Sellafield reprocesses spent fuel, and employs more than 10,000 workers. In 2003, the processing plant revealed that there was 19kg (42lb) of plutonium which was material unaccounted for.

A spokesman for the DTI said: "This is an account of an ongoing process and does not represent the loss of any actual material."

Plutonium makes up 1 per cent of the nuclear material handled at the Cumbrian nuclear plant - the rest is uranium.

is this enough for a dirty bomb? (1)

rbriefmd (860545) | more than 9 years ago | (#11707914)

what is this enough for... in the right hands? a dirty bomb? scary thoughts...

30 kilos? (1)

khrtt (701691) | more than 9 years ago | (#11707918)

30 kilos of weapons-grade is enough to make no more than 2 crude bombs, so the whole world is not really in danger. Just a couple of large cities.

If it wasn't weapons-grade, you could make one hell of a dirty bomb out of it, but not really anything that makes a big boom with a pretty mushroom cloud on top.

Lookie here [nuclearweaponarchive.org]

One Giant Step For Humanoids, One Giant Backstep (0)

Rares Marian (83629) | more than 9 years ago | (#11707921)

for actual humans.

Nuke Plant is not near London (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11707934)

Its in the North West of England. There's more to England than that dump known as London.

3000kg (3, Funny)

Tabor_Kelly (849807) | more than 9 years ago | (#11707941)

"cannot account for nearly 30 kilograms of plutonium... Although it says later plutonium is only 1% of what they deal with there."

Does this mean they are missing 3000kg of uranium?

why would they tell you otherwise? (1)

kevin-cs-edu (854636) | more than 9 years ago | (#11707947)

but authorities believe it is an accounting issue rather than a loss of potential bomb-making material, the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority said.
Even if the plutonium was actually lost, do you think they would announce it to the world?

How is plutonium accounted for, anyway? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11707948)

I wonder, do they use double entry accounting [wikipedia.org] ? I would assume so.

Accounting error? (1)

jim_v2000 (818799) | more than 9 years ago | (#11707950)

That's a pretty big f'n accounting error.

Re:Accounting error? (1)

yorktimsson (758890) | more than 9 years ago | (#11708067)

Audited by Arthur Andersen....
It's probably on loan to Enron to balance their books.

Acountants (1)

qw0ntum (831414) | more than 9 years ago | (#11707965)

There go those accountants, stirring up trouble again...

SWEET! (1)

ErichTheWebGuy (745925) | more than 9 years ago | (#11707977)

For once, it's not the Americans with egg on our face for being idiots. But I'm sure it won't be long until we regain that distinction...

In other news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11707980)

In other news, Iran has claimed faulty accounting practices have led the United State's government to believe they are producing nuclear fuel that can potentially be used to make nuclear weapons. The Iranian government is really attempting to produce a cheap source of nuclear power. The official word from the US is that this changes nothing and that Iran can still be a threat to the economies of surrounding regions.

mod -1 offtopic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11707982)

this is 100% offtopic, but did /. fire micheal? Haven't seen a post from him in quite a while...

London? vs Sellafield or is that Windscale. (2, Interesting)

DogsBollocks (806307) | more than 9 years ago | (#11707985)

1. Sellafield is nowhere near London.

Sellafield is well known for mistakes, so well known in fact that it changed it's name to Sellafield, it's old name was Windscale.

Nothing new here, please move along.

http://www.nucleartourist.com/events/windscal.htm [nucleartourist.com]

why is plutonium important? (0)

John Seminal (698722) | more than 9 years ago | (#11707987)

i think the whole plutonium thing is propoganda, trying to make the terrorists look for it. what happened with the H bomb? has anyone looked at the sun (come on people, there are only two elements there)? why plutonium, because it is rare? all they are doing is shoving crap down the throat of a atom. how hard is that??

if peace is to be had, people must be respected as the same, without regard to wealth. the uber rich are the shadow government. and it ain't limited to the usa, they are foreclosing on the usa quicker than GM left michigan. don't fall for it. god gave you a brain, and they can only take it away with mindless tv and alcohol and unresolved suffering. think about it.

I suspect that the plutonium never existed. (1)

ABeowulfCluster (854634) | more than 9 years ago | (#11707993)

Just like the 'missing' Los Alamos disks. I get blamed for 'missing' stuff all the time when in reality, it's just mislabeled and on a shelf somewhere.

Plutionium (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11708008)

I guess next week Slashdot will report that someone is selling it on ebay.

(prepares my credit card)

In Other News... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11708011)

President Bush announced that a smoking gun was found today in Iraq in the form of 30 kilograms of plutonium. Mission Accomplished!

old news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11708050)

was watching it on TV 24 hours ago. It's just an audit error, not missing material stolen.

British Dirty Bomb (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11708062)

Wow, who whould have thought that Britin is still pissed off at us over the Boston Tea Party! What soar loosers.

bah (1)

CAIMLAS (41445) | more than 9 years ago | (#11708063)

Make a bomb, eh?

Reactor grade plutonium isn't nearly as volatile as bomb plutonium. I wouldn't say this is such large concern, as it takes a good deal of energy/tech to create bomb grade shit out of reactor grade shit.

Aside from a dirty bomb, of course. Or something wholely unenthralling.

that would be difficult (2, Informative)

m3rr (669531) | more than 9 years ago | (#11708065)

it would be highly difficult for most people to get any use out of that plutonium. radioactive material is purified to only 3% for use in power plants and needs to be purified up to somewhere around 90% to be weapons grade.

ergo, i don't think i would be extremely worried if someone had stolen it.
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