Idaho school can't find small bit of weapons-grade plutonium - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Idaho school can't find small bit of weapons-grade plutonium

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BOISE, Idaho -

(AP) - Idaho State University says it can't find a small amount of radioactive, weapons-grade plutonium about the size of a U.S. quarter, and federal officials are proposing an $8,500 fine.
  
The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission said in a statement Friday that the university can't account for about a 30th of an ounce (1 gram) of the material that's used in nuclear reactors and to make nuclear bombs.
  
Officials say the amount is too small to make a nuclear bomb but could be used to make a dirty bomb to spread radiation.
  
The university says documents from 2003 and 2004 identify the material as being on campus. But the school in Pocatello says a search in October failed to find the plutonium.
  
School officials didn't immediately respond to inquiries from The Associated Press.
  
___
  
This story has been corrected to show that the missing plutonium is about a 30th of an ounce, not a third of an ounce.

(Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

5/4/2018 1:15:03 PM (GMT -7:00)

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