Thursday, August 30, 2007

The Ganges and the lost plutonium cores

Indian agents and the CIA managed to lose a set of plutonium rods in the snows of the Himalayas:
Damn Interesting » Spies on the Roof of the World

...A quick survey of the scene suggested that the stone ledge had been sheared from the mountainside by an avalanche, presumably embedding the generator and its seven cigar-shaped plutonium rods deep into the ice fields below...

.... No one could be certain what would become of the core in the glacier's clutches, but there was cause for great concern. There were two equally alarming prospects: the nuclear fuel might fall into the wrong hands, leading to any number of diabolical designs; or the slab of migrating ice might slowly grind the plutonium into a paste and deposit it into the Sanctuary melt waters, shuttling the four pounds of radioactive material into the vital Ganges River...

...To the best of Dr. Schaller's knowledge, the Central Intelligence Agency never managed to reacquire their missing nuclear appliance. But a water sample from the Sanctuary in 2005 showed troubling hints of plutonium-239, an isotope which does not occur naturally. Years, decades, or centuries from now, the corpse of the rogue generator may yet rise from its icy grave and exact a radioactive revenge upon humanity. However, the CIA can neither confirm nor deny the existence or non-existence of a disaster approximating the aforementioned depiction....
I wonder if anyone has finding the plutonium in their current job description.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

See www.petetakeda.com for a detailed discussion on why Pu-239 wasn't "detected" and results of further testing.

John Gordon said...

http://www.petetakeda.com/journal/welcome-to-petetakedacom is the direct link to the article on the petetakeda site.