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Thread: 150 Pounds Of Explosives Missing In N.M.

  1. #1
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    150 Pounds Of Explosives Missing In N.M.

    150 Pounds of Explosives Missing in N.M.

    http://www.forbes.com/home/feeds/ap/...ap2403283.html

    By TIM KORTE , 12.19.2005, 10:07 PM

    About 150 pounds of commercial plastic explosives has disappeared from a private storage site, along with 2,500 blasting caps and 20,000 feet of explosive detonation cord, authorities said Monday.

    "In the hands of the wrong person, this material can be very, very destructive," Bernalillo County Sheriff Darren White said at a news conference.

    Wayne Dixie, an agent with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, said the missing material was enough to level a building. Two containers, both stored inside two bunkers southwest of Albuquerque, were burglarized sometime between Dec. 13 and Sunday, authorities said.

    Dixie cautioned there was no evidence to suggest a link to terrorism but said investigators had no leads or suspects. Authorities offered a reward of up to $50,000 for information that helps them recover the goods.

    The materials were reported missing by the owner of Cherry Engineering Inc. Dixie said the company performs "research for the law enforcement community" but declined to elaborate.

    "Our cause for concern is that these materials are highly energetic, military-style explosives that are not commonly used in commercial industry," said ATF spokesman Tom Mangan.

    Cherry Engineering was federally certified as an explosives storage facility and was in compliance with ATF regulations, Dixie said. The site was inspected weekly.

    Company officials were cooperating with investigators. Mangan said the owner has had no violations since acquiring a license to store explosives in 1990.

    The missing explosives are roughly big enough to fit into a truck, van or SUV, police spokesman John Walsh said. "It looks like plumber's putty rolled up in wax paper," he said.

    Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG


  2. #2
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    Nuclear fuel missing
    Southern Co. can't find radioactive material

    http://msnbc.msn.com/id/10527669/

    By Justin Rubner
    Atlanta Business Chronicle
    Updated: 7:00 p.m. ET Dec. 18, 2005

    One day last May, workers at Southern Co.'s nuclear power plant near Baxley, Ga., made a disturbing discovery: 68 inches of dangerous used nuclear fuel rods were missing.

    An "exhaustive search" during the seven months since has failed to find the missing parts of rods, tubes a little wider than a pencil and as long as 14 feet. Fuel rods are placed in "assemblies" and then placed in reactors to generate energy.

    Southern Co. (NYSE: SO) on Nov. 10 disclosed publicly that the nuclear material was missing from its Edwin I. Hatch Nuclear Plant. Officials of Southern Co.'s nuclear power subsidiary, Southern Nuclear Operating Co., had been scheduled to hold a public meeting with Nuclear Regulatory Commission officials in Atlanta on Dec. 15 to discuss the issue. But that meeting was canceled and has been postponed indefinitely so the company can further search for the material.

    Officials at Southern Co. have said the possibility of theft is "not plausible" and that there is no threat to public health or safety. Nonetheless, the NRC is watching the matter closely.

    "We want to know what happened and see that it doesn't happen again," said NRC spokesman Ken Clark.

    Search continues
    Southern Nuclear officials say the missing material might be somewhere in the plant's used fuel-storage pools or it could have been inadvertently shipped to a storage facility for less dangerous nuclear waste in Barnwell, S.C.

    About 30 Plant Hatch employees are conducting a search of paper and computer records as well as video recorded by robotic cameras inside the plant's two 40-foot deep Olympic-sized pools, said Southern Nuclear spokesman Steve Higginbottom. The facility in Barnwell, however, is not being searched, he said.

    Southern Nuclear CEO Barnie Beasley has been "very involved" with the search, Higginbottom said, and Southern Co. CEO David Ratcliffe is aware of the search but has not had a "hands-on role."

    In addition to examining millions of inches of nuclear waste, the team also is interviewing current and former employees who have worked there since the 1980s, Higginbottom said. Plus, Southern Nuclear has commissioned Marietta-based GE Energy to assist. (The plant is powered by two GE Energy boiling water reactors.)

    "You want to get another set of expert eyes, especially when you're dealing with small pieces," Higginbottom said. He added that the amount of missing inventory could go up or down during the process.

    The discrepancy is the fourth such reported incident in U.S. history and the second-largest, according to the NRC.

    However, the NRC stresses there is no threat of any lost materials falling into the wrong hands.

    "No one stole that fuel and walked out with it," Clark said. "You can't just take that fuel out and walk out with it in your pocket. It would be deadly -- the radiation from the material would kill you quickly. Nevertheless, we still want an accounting for where it is."

    Breaching security would be nearly impossible. On top of physical barriers at Hatch and other plants, a would-be thief would have to get past armed guards and radioactivity and intrusion sensors, experts say.

    However unlikely, if a terrorist acquired even a few inches of used fuel rod parts, he could create a "dirty bomb," said William Miller, a professor of nuclear science and engineering at the University of Missouri-Columbia. A dirty bomb combines conventional explosives, such as dynamite, with radioactive material. According to the NRC Web site, a dirty bomb could contaminate several city blocks, "creating fear and possibly panic and requiring a potentially costly cleanup."

    "It could be used in that fashion," Miller said. "But so could thousands of sources, such as medicine. There are sources everywhere."

    Miller emphasized that the nuclear industry is extremely safe -- much safer since the Three Mile Island meltdown in 1979 -- and for that reason was surprised by Southern Nuclear's announcement.

    "I'd be terribly embarrassed if I was working at that plant," Miller said. "It's certainly not something that should be happening."

    New reactors planned
    The nuclear material is missing at a time when Southern Nuclear wants to build two new reactors. Southern Nuclear hopes to have one operational by 2015 -- possibly at Plant Vogtle near Waynesboro, Ga.

    Southern Co. and other nuclear power plant operators also are pushing the federal government to build a permanent nuclear waste storage facility in Yucca Mountain, Nev. The Yucca Mountain complex, which is facing intense opposition from Nevada residents and environmentalists, was supposed to be complete by 2010, but that now looks unlikely.

    Southern Co. is embroiled in a lawsuit against the Department of Energy to recover costs associated with the delay.

    As a result of the delay, Southern Nuclear is planning to expand its storage capacity at Hatch by 2009, said Stan Wise of the Georgia Public Service Commission. Wise said costs associated with storage since December 2004 total $77 million.

    During the week of Dec. 12, Wise met with U.S. House of Representatives energy leaders and Department of Energy officials to press them on the Yucca Mountain issue. Wise estimates that Georgia Power customers have paid at least $518 million into a fund to pay for Yucca Mountain.

    Currently, Southern Nuclear is storing 6,540 used fuel rod assemblies in the two pools at Plant Hatch. The fuel inventory in Plant Hatch's two reactor cores and the two pools totals more than 57 million inches.

    Not the first time
    Southern Nuclear is not the first company to lose fuel rods. In 2002, the Millstone plant in Waterford, Conn., operated by Dominion Nuclear Connecticut Inc., reported it had lost two irradiated fuel rods -- about 288 inches' worth, according to the NRC. The NRC fined the company $288,000, or about $1,000 per inch.

    David Lochbaum, a nuclear safety engineer at the Union of Concerned Scientists, an environmental safety advocacy group, said the Millstone incident sparked stricter policies in tracking nuclear inventory. Prior to the reported discrepancy, plants were required only to track complete fuel assemblies -- which are made up of 60 or so rods of varying lengths -- but now must track even small pieces of rods.

    In February, new rules passed by the NRC prompted Southern Nuclear to conduct such an inventory. The company became aware something was awry in May.

    Lochbaum, who worked at Plant Hatch in the early 1980s, said plants used to track inventory with index cards before computerization.

    "The tracking system didn't really track rods," he said. "It did an even worse job at tracking segments."

    Another discrepancy was reported at the Humboldt Bay plant near Eureka, Calif. The plant, decommissioned in 1976, was operated by Pacific Gas & Electric Co. The company reported in 2004 it was unable to find three 18-inch sections of a rod, according to the NRC.

    And in June 2005, the Vermont Yankee plant, operated by Entergy Nuclear Operations Inc., reported it had "temporarily" lost but later found 26 inches of spent fuel rod pieces, according to the NRC.

    Higginbottom said Southern Nuclear believes the Hatch parts were lost sometime in the 1980s. During a lengthy replacement process then, many rods were moved from one assembly to another, he said, and some pieces might have fallen into one of the pools or into one of the assemblies themselves. The materials are so deadly, they have to be handled underwater in the concrete and stainless-steel-lined pools.

    Higginbottom said those pieces over the years could've been "vacuumed" up or could still be caught in pool filters.

    As a result of the lost inventory and the new NRC rules, Southern Nuclear has changed its procedures to account for such parts, Higginbottom said. Other operators, experts say, have likely done the same thing.

    Southern Nuclear is scheduled to present a report on its search to the NRC sometime during the first quarter.

    © 2005 Atlanta Business Chronicle
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG


  3. #3
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    Report: Nuclear Truck Bomb Would Kill 1.6M in NYC

    http://www.newsmax.com/archives/ic/2...9/141516.shtml

    12/19/205

    What would happen if a 20-kiloton nuclear bomb exploded over Broadway and Warren Street in downtown New York City?

    Nearly 1.6 million New Yorkers could be killed or injured, according to Cham Dallas, director of the Center for Mass Destruction Defense.

    Dallas offered the prediction in an interview with the New York Post. He also said the flash from the blast would permanently blind all onlookers, and that a fireball would burn everything in its path.

    Not surprisingly, the shock wave from the blast would likely demolish surrounding buildings and scatter radioactive particles downwind.

    Dallas was merely forwarding non-classified information to the Post from his November 10 testimony in a closed hearing before the House Subcommittee on the Prevention of Nuclear and Biological Attack, an arm of the Homeland Security Committee.

    Dallas said a 20-kiloton nuclear weapon is roughly equivalent to the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but is "relatively small” by today’s nuclear standards.

    He warned that a 20-kiloton weapon could fit in the back of "a small rental truck or even a van.”

    While Dallas said such an attack would be catastrophic, there were ways to mitigate the damage. He said federal and local officials should train civilians to give immediate first aid and organize quick distribution centers for medical supplies and treatment.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG


  4. #4
    rayrayjones Guest
    Inside Job.

  5. #5
    princesskittypoo Guest
    there was a earth quake in n.m. the other day... maybe they used explosives to make the earth quake happen.

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    Worried officials post $50K reward for stolen explosives

    http://www.katu.com/news/story.asp?ID=81899

    By TIM KORTE
    12/21/2005

    ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - About 150 pounds of commercial plastic explosives has disappeared from a private storage site, along with 2,500 blasting caps and 20,000 feet of explosive detonation cord, authorities said Monday.

    "In the hands of the wrong person, this material can be very, very destructive," Bernalillo County Sheriff Darren White said at a news conference.

    Wayne Dixie, an agent with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, said the missing material was enough to level a building.

    Two containers, both stored inside two bunkers southwest of Albuquerque, were burglarized sometime between Dec. 13 and Sunday, authorities said.

    Dixie cautioned there was no evidence to suggest a link to terrorism but said investigators had no leads or suspects.

    Authorities offered a reward of up to $50,000 for information that helps them recover the goods.

    The materials were reported missing by the owner of Cherry Engineering Inc. Dixie said the company performs "research for the law enforcement community" but declined to elaborate.

    "Our cause for concern is that these materials are highly energetic, military-style explosives that are not commonly used in commercial industry," said ATF spokesman Tom Mangan.

    Cherry Engineering was federally certified as an explosives storage facility and was in compliance with ATF regulations, Dixie said. The site was inspected weekly.

    Company officials were cooperating with investigators. Mangan said the owner has had no violations since acquiring a license to store explosives in 1990.

    The missing explosives are roughly big enough to fit into a truck, van or SUV, police spokesman John Walsh said. "It looks like plumber's putty rolled up in wax paper," he said.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG


  7. #7
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    4 arrests made in stolen explosives case
    400 pounds of blasting material taken from storage depot in New Mexico

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/10590436/

    Updated: 9:57 p.m. ET Dec. 23, 2005

    ALBUQUERQUE, N.M - Four men, including two brothers, were taken into custody Friday by federal authorities in connection with the theft of 400 pounds of explosives from a storage depot southwest of Albuquerque.

    The explosives were reported stolen Sunday from Cherry Engineering's storage depot eight miles southwest of New Mexico's largest city. Federal authorities have said it was enough to flatten a large building.

    The men, whose names were not immediately released, all face federal charges, including possession of stolen explosives.

    Three of the arrests were made in Bloomfield, in the northwest corner of the state, and the other was made in Ignacio, Colo., said Tom Mangan, a spokesman for the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

    Federal authorities were processing a crime scene in a remote area of New Mexico, but Mangan did not release any details.

    Stolen were 150 pounds of C-4, 250 pounds of sheet explosives, 20,000 feet of detonator cord and 2,500 blasting caps.

    Investigators have said there was no evidence to suggest a link to terrorism.

    This breaking news story will be updated.

    © 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG


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