Tuesday, August 3, 2010

"Forgotten" Radioactive Material Turns Up in Georgian Lab

A plutonium-beryllium cache was apparently "forgotten" for 42 years before turning up recently at a research facility in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi, Bloomberg reported today (see GSN, June 23).

The material was discovered inside a “special container stored in wax and lead, which was quite safe and presented no danger for the environment,” said Giorgi Nabakhtiani, a nuclear expert with Georgia's Environmental Protection and Natural Resources Ministry.

“The substance has now been removed and stored at a special unit,” Nabakhtiani said, adding it “was likely forgotten for several decades after it was brought to the laboratory for a special test."

The laboratory did not contain enough plutonium-beryllium for use in a radiological "dirty bomb," the specialist said (Bloomberg/Moscow Times, Aug. 2)

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