The Corner

Energy & Environment

Way to Go, Team

This strikes me as suboptimal.

Two workers from the Department of Energy’s Idaho National Laboratory lost an undisclosed amount of plutonium and cesium from a rental car parked overnight in a San Antonio, Texas, hotel parking lot in a neighborhood known for car break-ins and other crimes, according to an article published Monday by the Center for Public Integrity.

The loss of the highly radioactive material occurred in March 2017 and was discovered when the two workers awoke the next morning to find the window of their Ford Expedition had been smashed. Missing were radiation detectors and small samples of plutonium and cesium used to calibrate them. The workers were transporting the equipment and materials during an assignment to retrieve dangerous nuclear materials from a nonprofit research lab in San Antonio when the theft occurred. The vehicle had been parked in the lot of a Marriott hotel in a San Antonio neighborhood where car break-ins are common.

And of course:

Monday’s report said that one of the specialist workers assigned to safeguard the equipment in San Antonio received a “Vision Award” by her colleagues one month after the theft. A few months later, the Energy Department gave an “A” grade and overall performance assessment of “excellent” to Battelle Energy Alliance, the contractor that employed the guards assigned to pick up the nuclear material.

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