Saturday, December 03, 2005

LANL: Feds deny plutonium missing from lab

By ANDY LENDERMAN | The New Mexican
December 3, 2005

The federal government has shot down allegations that plutonium is missing from Los Alamos National Laboratory, as claimed by a nuclear-watchdog group earlier this week.

“We don’t think anything’s missing,” spokesman Don Ami of the National Nuclear Security Administration said. “We just think there’s a discrepancy.”

There are two different databases used to track plutonium and plutonium waste, and different rules, or reporting requirements, for each, Ami explained.


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So, which system is the accurate inventory, and why on earth would anyone expect two seperate and different systems to agree with each other? Does the lab know how much it has and where it is at or not? If they do not, how do you prove it was just a discrepancy, or perhaps it is a discrepancy and the discrepancy is that there is unacccounted for material?!
This is what a friend who used to work on the software used to track the material told me a few years back.

DOE set the requirements at something like 'record the mass to the nearest' tenth or hundreth of a gram while the workers are capable of measuring the mass to a finer resolution. I don't remember the actual number of decimal places that the DOE bean counters wanted but the point that was made adamantly by my friend was that the staff could do at least an order of magnitude better. The DOE guys didn't want to hear about it.

So if you have a DOE report that uses their 'rounded' numbers and an internal LANL accounting that has even one more decimal place of real information then you have a problem reconciling the records.

For what its worth (~2 cents ), that is what I was told.
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