It turned out that to steal radioactive fuel in America is as simple as car radio tape recorder.
In 2017, the national laboratory of the State of Idaho disappeared plutonium and radioactive cesium, which can be used to make nuclear weapons. The incident tried to “hush” the US Department of Energy, so the details of the theft became known only on July 16, 2018.
It turned out that two government employees who transported plutonium and cesium left samples in the back seat of the car. The agents parked the car at the Marriott Hotel in the troubled Texas area and went to sleep.
At night, unknown people broke the glass of the car and stole the case with instruments and samples. Plutonium was used for research and had to be disposed of, but the stolen amount is enough to make a “dirty bomb”.
The incident was made public by journalists from the Center for Public Integrity. According to a description from the US Department of Energy’s internal report, they found a police report detailing the theft.
In the documents of the Ministry of Energy it was indicated that parking near the hotel was in a safe area. However, journalists found that, according to police, over 87 thefts occurred there over the year.
The San Antonio police consulted on the case with the FBI, but none of the departments issued a public statement. The police could not find fingerprints, records from surveillance cameras or witnesses. Inspection of the local pawnshops also gave nothing and after a year the authorities do not know where the radioactive substances are.
According to experts, theft of radioactive substances occurs regularly in the United States. Similarly, over the past 13 years, about 15 kilograms of enriched uranium and 45 grams of plutonium could have disappeared.