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Russian man with sunken cheeks and a wispy mustache crossed into Georgia and traveled to Tbilisi by car along a high mountain road. In two plastic bags in his leather jacket, Georgian authorities say, he carried 100 grams of uranium so refined that it could help fuel an atom bomb.
What is most worrisome about the two most recent case, nuclear experts say, is the material itself: in large enough quantities, it could provide a terrorist with an instant solution to the biggest challenge in making a nuclear weapon, obtaining the fuel.
In a world of sane editorial judgments, the banner headline ought to scream that “MAN HAD 0.1 KILOGRAM OF BOMB-GRADE URANIUM”.
With only 25kg of HEU, any halfway decent demolitions expert or DIYer with a basement and a welding torch can build a bomb that would kill thousands. A clever couple of grad students could lay waste to a city of millions (not by vaporising it, quite, but by blackening its centre with a radioactive hangover to last centuries). Since HEU is stable enough to carry by hand, transporting it across borders, into buildings or into graduate-quality labs is not a problem for anybody. Oh, and it doesn’t set off metal detectors or bomb-sniffing dogs either, should the enterprising smuggler feel like putting a few pounds in his pocket (it’s extremely dense stuff—you’d be surprised how many pounds you can cram into a small space). I suspect that if Oleg had been a more prosperous fishmonger, he might've flown from, say, Odessa to ... Karachi, Riyadh, London, Tel Aviv? With however many kg of HEU he and his suitcase can carry.
In 1994 alone, two seizures involved more than five kilos — 11 pounds — of highly enriched uranium. The I.A.E.A. listed more than a dozen cases of illicit trade in highly enriched uranium, along with dozens of seizures of highly radioactive material.
The Georgians called for help from American diplomats, who sent in experts from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Energy, American officials say. Mr. Merabishvili said the Americans shocked them by taking the uranium and simply putting it “in their pocket.” Uranium in that form emits little radiation and presents little or no danger to its handlers.
Exposure to environmental uranium or to uranium at levels found at hazardous waste sites will not be lethal to humans but exposure to some of its decay products, especially radon, strontium-90, and iodine-131 does pose a significant health threat.[
A person can be exposed to uranium (or its radioactive daughters such as radon) by inhaling dust in air or from smoking tobacco which have been grown using certain phosphate fertilizers, or ingesting water and food.
Originally posted by brEaDITOR
I was just going to state that, if that's the actual packaging, the courier was nvts. Weapons-grade uranium in Ziplocs. He had a death wish. No wonder his cheeks are sunken.
Know these facts about a nuclear power plant emergency.
* A nuclear power plant accident would not cause the same widespread destruction as a nuclear weapon.
* Although radioactive materials could be released in a cloud or plume, no fallout is produced to endanger people.
* There may be a radiation hazard in the surrounding areas, depending on the type of accident, amount of radiation released, and weather factors.
* Radiation would be monitored by authorities to determine potential danger and warn the public.
* Local citizens would be evacuated or instructed on how to avoid radiation hazards.
Originally posted by grover
tell that to the people around chernobl.
Originally posted by Jimmy1880
All the comments here about how dangerous Uranium is makes me want to cry like a little girl
Firstly, What filmakers in Hollywood tell you about Uranium is not true! SHOCK HORROR !
Secondly, I've done a fair bit of Nuclear Chemical and Biological training. I'm not a scientist but I've been taught what's what. Uranium's Isotopes certainly aren't nice and I wouldn't like a spoonful in my tea, but thinking that the guy will start glowing green and die after a couple of hours is just wrong.
I wish people would Deny Ignorance and realize that films are not real life
The Info is out there, help yourself to it!!!
- Emphasis added
How likely is uranium to cause cancer?
Humans and animals exposed to high levels of uranium did not have higher cancer rates. The Committee on the Biological Effects of Ionizing Radiation (BEIR IV) reported that eating food or drinking water that has normal amounts of uranium will most likely not cause cancer.
Uranium can decay into other radioactive substances, such as radium, which can cause cancer if you are exposed to enough of them for a long enough period of time. Studies have reported lung and other cancers in uranium miners; however, the miners also smoked and were exposed to other substances that cause cancer, such as radon and silica dust.
Originally posted by jtma508
With all due respct, Jimmy, the link you provided (though quite informative) discusses uranium in naturally occuring or very low concentrations. We're talking about two ZipLoks full of concentrated, weapon grade uranium. If this stuff has no 'dirty bomb' capability and is not dangerously radioactive then who should care about it? And if DU is such a non-issue then whay all the international outcry about it?
Originally posted by Jimmy1880
I thank god that the highest concentrations of Uranium are in Canada, the loyal and brave but mostly unappreciated ally of the commonwealth. I couldn't think of a safer place to keep it!