There are some jobs that are so critical that many people believe they must be performed by government agents. One of those jobs is protecting radioactive material. But what happens when you give an important job to an organization that historically sucks at everything? Exactly what you expect:
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 best part? This isn’t the first time government agents have lost plutonium:
The missing plutonium and cesium join the ever-growing amount of MUF—short for material unaccounted for—that has resulted from thefts or losses over the years. In 2009, the Energy Department’s inspector general took account of radioactive materials the military loaned to US academic researchers, government agencies, or commercial firms. The conclusion: despite being listed until 2004 as securely stored, one pound of plutonium and 45 pounds of highly enriched uranium were missing.
Who needs a uranium enrichment program when you can just take what the United States has already produced?
This news shouldn’t surprise anybody. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives has a history of losing guns, the Pentagon has a history of losing money, and the Department of Health and Human Service has a history of losing children. The federal government flat out sucks at keeping track of anything left in its care.