Bloomberg: Growing global threat of radiation-contaminated metal — Plutonium, weapons-grade uranium found — Chronic exposure to low doses of radiation can lead to cancer and birth defects

Monday, March 19, 2012
By Paul Martin

By ENENews
March 19th, 2012

Title: Nuclear Risks at Bed, Bath & Beyond Show Hidden Danger of Scrap
Source: Bloomberg
Author: By Jonathan Tirone and Andrew MacAskill
Date: Mar 19, 2012

The discovery of radioactive tissue boxes at Bed, Bath & Beyond Inc. (BBBY) stores in January raised alarms among nuclear security officials and company executives over the growing global threat of contaminated scrap metal. [...]

Radioactive items used to power medical, military and industrial hardware are melted down and used in goods, driving up company costs as they withdraw tainted products and threatening the public’s health. [...]

Chronic exposure to low doses of radiation can lead to cataracts, cancer and birth defects, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. A 2005 study of more than 6,000 Taiwanese who lived in apartments built with radioactive reinforcing steel from 1983 to 2005 showed a statistically significant increase in leukemia and breast cancer. [...]

India and China were the top sources of radioactive goods shipped to the U.S. through 2008, according to the Department of Homeland Security. Bartley, a metallurgist who has tracked radioactive contamination since the early 1990s, said there’s no evidence the situation has improved.

Weapons-Grade Uranium & Plutonium

“The major risk we face in our industry is radiation,” said Paul de Bruin, radiation-safety chief for Jewometaal Stainless Processing BV, one of the world’s biggest stainless- steel scrap yards. “You can talk about security all you want, but I’ve found weapons-grade uranium in scrap. Where was the security?” [...]

Rotterdam-based Jewometaal, which found 145 nuclear items in scrap last year and 200 in 2010, reports incidents to Dutch authorities and the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency. De Bruin keeps pictures of the nuclear-fission chamber containing bomb-grade uranium and other scrap with plutonium that he’s uncovered using radiation monitors at his shipping yard. [...]

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