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Plutonium

NEWS
March 31, 1995
The world is becoming awash in deadly plutonium, a result of nearly half a century of atomic weapons production and a 30-year buildup of waste products from the nuclear power industry. Plutonium is one of the most toxic substances on Earth, but increasingly no one knows what to do with it -- a dilemma underscored by the current debate among scientists over the safety of the government's long-planned nuclear waste disposal site in the Nevada desert.The problem is going to be with us a long time.
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NEWS
By JONATHAN POWER | February 24, 1995
London. -- This week a British ship left a French dock, monitored from the sky by American satellites on its way to Japan.Before it left, the port of Cherbourg was sealed off in a military-style police action, with French commandos held in reserve.A Princeton University physicist, Edwin Lyman, has warned that if accidentally this ship caught fire on the high seas but reasonably near land, it could contaminate millions of people.Billions of dollars are at stake. National egos are at risk. A nuclear-arms race between China and Japan may develop.
NEWS
By New York Times News Service | November 21, 1994
TOKYO -- North Korea has struck its most conciliatory and cooperative note in years, announcing publicly for the first time that it had frozen its nuclear reactor program, as promised in an agreement with the United States.It also vowed to carry out its pledge to dismantle the remaining elements in its suspected nuclear weapons sites and said over the weekend that it had permitted U.S. experts for the first time to visit its nuclear complex at Yongbyon, just north of the capital.The visit was part of what the North called "useful and constructive" talks on safely storing and then disposing of fuel rods that the United States fears North Korea might turn into weapons-grade material.
FEATURES
By Kevin Cowherd and Kevin Cowherd,Sun Staff Writer | September 29, 1994
For parents of school-age children, autumn is a stressful time, beginning with that hellish odyssey known as Back-to-School Night.This is when parents visit their child's classroom and sit hunched at the child's tiny, cramped desk and lose all feeling in their lower backs as the teacher explains what the class hopes to accomplish throughout the new year.The talk is invariably upbeat. With June Cleaver smile firmly in place and eyes glowing like twin coals, the teacher sprinkles her address with phrases such as "new beginning" and "the uniqueness of each student."
NEWS
By Los Angeles Times | September 18, 1994
WASHINGTON -- As part of a bargain to stop the fast-growing North Korean nuclear program, the Clinton administration has quietly made concessions that could permit an eventual resumption on short notice, outside analysts say.Leaders of the Pyongyang regime will retain "a latent ability to break out of this deal if they feel it is unsatisfactory," said Jonathan Pollack, a Korea expert at the RAND Corp., a think tank in Santa Monica, Calif.And if they do, maintained Henry Sokolski, a former Pentagon specialist on nonproliferation, "North Korea would still be producing new plutonium in the reactor it had before and be able to make at least as many bombs as it now can."
NEWS
August 29, 1994
Plutonium and highly enriched uranium are being guarded reasonably well in the U.S. But in the former Soviet Union, where the political and economic situation is unstable and organized crime has skyrocketed, the risk of theft or diversion is high. . . [W]orkers at the nuclear storage and research facilities are paid infrequently or not at all. The temptation to accept bribes or to sell weapons-grade plutonium or highly enriched uranium is great.This warning, published two months ago in Chemical and Engineering News magazine, is coming to ominous fruition as an international "nuclear Mafia" tries to peddle the stuff of atomic bombs.
NEWS
By Los Angeles Times | August 25, 1994
MOSCOW -- Russian security officials, adding weight to promises that they would work harder to stop nuclear smuggling, announced yesterday that they had recovered more than 22 pounds of uranium stolen from a closed nuclear center.The uranium-238 was not weapons-grade, and Atomic Energy Ministry spokesman Georgy Kaurov said the material was so harmless that it could best be used as a weight for a fishing lure or "to make presses for buckets of sauerkraut."But in the wake of German accusations that plutonium recently seized in the Munich airport originated in Russia, the uranium case served as concrete reassurance that Moscow would try harder to keep its nuclear stocks under control.
NEWS
By Gilbert A. Lewthwaite and Mark Matthews and Gilbert A. Lewthwaite and Mark Matthews,Washington Bureau of The Sun | August 17, 1994
WASHINGTON -- Since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the West has watched nervously for signs that Moscow's formidable nuclear stockpile was leaking into outlaw hands.Now, the nightmare is beginning to come true. Since May, German authorities have made four seizures of smuggled nuclear material. The latest -- a 0.07 ounces of plutonium -- was seized Saturday with the arrest of a German.But the most alarming seizure was 10.5 ounces of weapons-grade plutonium that authorities said was brought by a Colombian last Wednesday on a flight to Munich from Moscow.
NEWS
By New York Times News Service | August 16, 1994
MOSCOW -- Russia's Ministry of Atomic Energy said yesterday that there was no plutonium 239 missing from its inventory and no evidence that Russia is the source of any of the plutonium smuggled into Germany. But the German government immediately challenged the Russian denial, saying that Bonn had clear evidence of Russian manufacture for some of the highly enriched, weapons-grade contraband.Germany said that three separate shipments of weapons-grade nuclear material from the former Soviet bloc have been seized within the last four months.
NEWS
By New York Times News Service | August 14, 1994
MUNICH, Germany -- German officials said yesterday that police had made the biggest seizure yet of weapons-quality nuclear materials smuggled from Russia, calling it the most unsettling indication to date of a well-organized criminal conspiracy to provide buyers with the ability to build a bomb.As much as 500 grams, more than a pound, of highly radioactive plutonium 239, the prime fissionable material of atomic warheads, was seized Wednesday from baggage from a Lufthansa flight originating in Moscow at Munich international airport, the officials said.
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