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How Japan Lost Track of 640kg of Plutonium

Soulskill posted about 4 months ago | from the left-it-in-my-other-pants dept.

Japan 104

Lasrick sends this quote from the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists: Most people would agree that keeping track of dangerous material is generally a good idea. So it may come as a surprise to some that the arrangements that are supposed to account for weapon-grade fissile materials—plutonium and highly enriched uranium—are sketchy at best. The most recent example involves several hundreds kilograms of plutonium that appear to have fallen through the cracks in various reporting arrangements. ... [A Japanese researcher discovered] that the public record of Japan’s plutonium holdings failed to account for about 640 kilograms of the material. The error made its way to the annual plutonium management report that Japan voluntarily submits to the International Atomic Energy Agency ... This episode may have been a simple clerical error, but it was yet another reminder of the troubling fact that we know very little about the amounts of fissile material that are circulating around the globe. The only reason the discrepancy was discovered in this case was the fact that Japan has been unusually transparent about its plutonium stocks. ... No other country does this.

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Well dang, 640 kg? (5, Funny)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about 4 months ago | (#47413633)

This sounds bad: any slashdotter ought to realise, 640kg of plutonium ought to be enough for anyone.

Re:Well dang, 640 kg? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47415497)

That was my first thought.

Re:Well dang, 640 kg? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47417075)

1) It wasn't 640kg of plutonium. It was 640kg of fuel rods that contains a much smaller amount of plutonium
2) They were at Fukushima the whole time.
3) The "Dude, Where's My Plutonium?" spreadsheet didn't have a column for "Halfway loaded into a reactor that just got hit by a tsunami"
4) The plutonium bean counters noticed that SUM() didn't include the new column.

Re:Well dang, 640 kg? (1)

antdude (79039) | about 4 months ago | (#47419371)

Funny. I put 6:40 AM for my wake up alarm and say that's enough sleep for me. ;)

Come now. (2, Interesting)

Rei (128717) | about 4 months ago | (#47413635)

Let's not make a big deal out of this. 640kg of reactor-grade plutonium is only enough for a bit over 100 fission bombs / fusion bomb first stages, merely enough to make the recipient roughly tied for being the world's sixth most armed nuclear power.

Nothing to see here.

Re:Come now. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47413659)

I would have said this seems to be more about Japanese activists still freaking out over Fukushima then anything else.

Then add to that, the media reporting lately of Japan looking to make its own nuclear weapons. And the activists are in full freak mode.

Re:Come now. (1)

taiwanjohn (103839) | about 4 months ago | (#47413691)

I was thinking some hardliners in Japan's military might have stashed it somewhere, "just in case" it's ever needed.

Re:Come now. (1)

Mashiki (184564) | about 4 months ago | (#47413731)

I was thinking some hardliners in Japan's military might have stashed it somewhere, "just in case" it's ever needed.

Considering Japan has been having on-off again discussions internally about amending the constitution to allow a non-defensive military for the last 10-12 years it wouldn't surprise me. Especially now that China is/has become the largest belligerent in the region.

Re:Come now. (4, Informative)

taiwanjohn (103839) | about 4 months ago | (#47413753)

According to another post [slashdot.org] this plutonium could not be used to make a bomb, and the explanation makes sense to me. So even if they change the constitution they won't be making any bombs, at least not with this plutonium.

Re:Come now. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47413967)

Japan has the technology to develop an atomic bomb quickly. They have an elaborate network of uranium enrichment facilities that can relatively easily make bomb grade uranium, even more so now they are using a lot less nuclear power. Plutonium is unlikely, since they don't have breeder reactors, and the plutionum like this they have is due to irradiation of uranium in light water reactors. This Pu cannot be purified to bomb-grade, since it is a mix of very many isotopes.

Re:Come now. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47417793)

I take it you have never heard of isotope separation?
 
It is slow but unless your in a rush it works quite well.

Re:Come now. (1)

Dogtanian (588974) | about 4 months ago | (#47414185)

According to another post [slashdot.org] this plutonium could not be used to make a bomb, and the explanation makes sense to me. So even if they change the constitution they won't be making any bombs, at least not with this plutonium.

This story rang some bells with me, and yes, it does appear to be the same case already reported on Slashdot [slashdot.org] (the figure given in the linked article there was also 640kg [japantimes.co.jp] ).

That time, however, the slant was on the Chinese being concerned that the Japanese may have been "stockpiling" this missing plutonium for weapons. [thebulletin.org]

Which begs the question as to why, if it couldn't be used to make an atomic bomb?

Re:Come now. (2)

HybridST (894157) | about 4 months ago | (#47414399)

640 kg in, say, 640 1kg dirty bombs wouldn't need to be nuclear, only radioactive. Might be enough to "dirty-up" a whole lot of china's land.

Re:Come now. (1)

Noah Haders (3621429) | about 4 months ago | (#47415483)

The point of a nuclear attack is to incapacitate the enemy. You never fire just one nuclear missile; you fire enough to keep them from responding in-kind. A dirty bomb attack is like kicking a hornets nest.

Re:Come now. (2)

blindseer (891256) | about 4 months ago | (#47422267)

Plutonium has a half life somewhere between thousands and millions of years. It's too stable for use as a dirty bomb. For something to be a radiological threat it would have to have a half-life on par with a human lifespan, or much shorter.

Typically a dirty bomb is used to scare or kill people off long enough that the area is abandoned but not so long that the attacker could not take over the area for their own use. Even if the attacker did not want to make use of the bombed area, and just wanted to deny it's use to anyone, something with a long half life is still undesirable. The longer the half life the more material the bomb would have to carry to irradiate a given area. With a half life of thousands of years there would have to be 100x more material than if a material with a half life of tens of years.

A more practical dirty bomb would use something like cobalt, tritium, cesium, strontium, or polonium.

Another problem with plutonium in a dirty bomb is that it's relatively inert chemically and very dense. Cleaning up plutonium would be almost trivial since it does not collect in the body, sinks like a stone in water, and only reacts with the most caustic of chemicals. Tritium would make drinking water and plant life radioactive for decades. Strontium likes to collect in the bones and irradiate people from the inside out.

Plutonium on the other hand likes to wash off, collect at the bottom of things, isn't taken up by plant or animal life readily, and has a half life so long that even if it collects in the body is unlikely to decay within a human life span.

You know, I scare myself sometimes that I know this stuff.

Re:Come now. (1)

gbjbaanb (229885) | about 4 months ago | (#47413949)

it's probably in a cardboard box in cupboard somewhere, between some smallpox virus [slashdot.org] and the Ark of the Covenant.

Re:Come now. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47413675)

Thank god it wasn't weapons grade Norris, one gram is enough to blow the universe up 42 times.

Re:Come now. (1)

Zephiris (788562) | about 4 months ago | (#47413849)

Disaster was averted so narrowly! He was busy defending christianity from the looming threat of pagans on Fox News that day, and couldn't have been lost along with the plutonium to cause the apocalypse. Simply a scheduling conflict. Does Tuesday the 29th work out better for you?

Re:Come now. (4, Informative)

MachineShedFred (621896) | about 4 months ago | (#47414033)

Except that "reactor grade" plutonium is unsuitable for weapons, and cannot have the undesired isotopes of plutonium separated out of it to make it weapons grade. There's a reason why the US built the special reactors at Hanford for weapons production - you can't just make material suitable for weapons in any commercial generating station.

But besides that, yeah we should all duck and cover.

Re:Come now. (5, Informative)

Mr D from 63 (3395377) | about 4 months ago | (#47414101)

Except that it was never lost, and you'll find that not in the summary, but midway through TFA where it says they just entered it in the wrong column on a spreadsheet . Disaster averted. Spreadsheets are actually tools of terror!

Re:Come now. (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about 4 months ago | (#47414259)

Shame that /. will spend much of the day wailing at the horrors of weapons-grade Pu being lost, even though it wasn't weapons-grade, and it wasn't actually lost. TFA FTW.

Re:Come now. (2)

Archtech (159117) | about 4 months ago | (#47414777)

Exactly. "No plutonium was actually lost, and the IAEA was quick to confirm that its own safeguards, which are there to ensure that no nuclear material is diverted, were applied at all times".

More worrying is the admission that "[a]s it turned out, the Genkai plant’s internal accounting system could not properly deal with such a situation, and the material ended up in the wrong column on a spreadsheet".

Spreadsheets are probably not appropriate for such critical applications. Their deceptive simplicity and ease of use makes it far too easy to enter data wrongly, or fail to understand the hidden logic behind an apparently straightforward array of numbers. See, for example, http://www.theregister.co.uk/2... [theregister.co.uk] . There are plenty of other detailed indictments of spreadsheet errors (and how easy it is to make them).

Re:Come now. (1)

Luckyo (1726890) | about 4 months ago | (#47415105)

What kind of a better replacement that clerics involved in rotating those numbers en masse on continous basis are you suggesting? As far as I know, spreadsheets are used because they are pretty much the best tool we have for the job that meets the sum of all requirements better than any known alternative.

Re:Come now. (2)

ultranova (717540) | about 4 months ago | (#47418337)

What kind of a better replacement that clerics involved in rotating those numbers en masse on continous basis are you suggesting?

A proper double-entry bookkeeping system, with every location an account. Why hack together a solution when the problem was solved centuries ago?

Re:Come now. (1)

Luckyo (1726890) | about 4 months ago | (#47420529)

You seem to think that double entry bookkeeping doesn't require extra work (significant increase in costs), that it wouldn't reduce usability (far more difficult to produce reports on wider issues), or that it would make system immune to human errors.

You are incorrect on all accounts.

Re:Come now. (1)

ultranova (717540) | about 4 months ago | (#47422463)

You seem to think that double entry bookkeeping doesn't require extra work (significant increase in costs),

No, it doesn't. Entering the numbers into a cell in Excel spreadsheet or to the field of a bookkeeping software require the exact same amount of work.

Also, this is plutonium. It sits in storage and gets moved around only occasionally. And when it does, accounting is the least of the expenses - or do you simply send it in mail?

that it wouldn't reduce usability (far more difficult to produce reports on wider issues),

This is a thoroughly bizarre statement. How is a software specifically designed to handle this type of task less usable than a generic spreadsheet? What "wider issues" does it keep you from reporting?

or that it would make system immune to human errors.

No system is immune to mistakes, but some are inherently more resistant than others.

You are incorrect on all accounts.

And you are making such bizarre statements I doubt you know what double-entry bookkeeping [wikipedia.org] means.

Re:Come now. (1)

James McGuigan (852772) | about 4 months ago | (#47418591)

Though in this case, it also highlights a degree of redundancy. No material was actually lost, but there where multiple spreadsheets and a data discrepancy discovered during a audit. This triggered an alarm and an investigation, the system failed safe. Maybe that was a high degree of wasted effort over a false alarm, but it would appear to add an extra layer of security against data manipulation to hide deliberate theft.

Re:Come now. (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | about 4 months ago | (#47415857)

Spreadsheets are actually tools of terror!

You jest, but they actually are - a lot of terror groups use them to keep track of funding and expense tracking (Al Qaeda being one of them), and ironically, for corruption protection. Because they're not necessarily flush with cash, and keeping spending down and wise means your terror group can do more with less.

Basically, a terror group happens to also be a business and businesses need to keep track of their accounts.

Re:Come now. (1)

chmod a+x mojo (965286) | about 4 months ago | (#47415343)

Actually you can, you just need short refuel times to avoid burnoff in a LWR and some reprocessing. Also with proper cooling you can use reactor grade Pu in weapons ( late 50's it was successfully tested ).

I would think you could also separate the Pu-239 from the "useless" Pu-240 with a well tuned cyclotron, much like grabbing the U-235 from U-238. It would probably be easier and faster to just short fuel cycle a LWR and reprocess than separate the fuels with a single neutron mass difference though.

Re:Come now. (2)

MachineShedFred (621896) | about 4 months ago | (#47415833)

The mass difference between Pu 239 and Pu 240 is so insignificant that it is completely infeasible to use any current production isotope separation techniques (gaseous diffusion, centrifuges, etc.) and Pu 240 reacts to chemicals exactly the same as Pu 239, so you can't cheat it by using a chemical bath to dissolve the stuff you want / don't want (PUREX). There are experimental techniques, but they are so unreliable or expensive that it's cheaper and faster to just build a reactor to make the stuff if you're that serious.

We're talking about national governments here. They don't need to clandestinely take some mixed-isotope garbage from a commercial reactor and recondition it at prohibitive expense and complexity for a weapon. They can just build a short-cycle reactor or one that allows adding and removing U238 slugs while the core is running and tell the UN to fuck off - seems to have worked out just fine for Iran (allegedly), North Korea, Pakistan, and India. The process is really quite technically easy after we figured out how to do it in the 1940s, it's just a matter of spending the money and having the feedstock fuel to begin with, which Japan has shloads of.

Re:Come now. (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 4 months ago | (#47414039)

The most likely explanation is that it was syphoned off by the Japanese government for a secret nuclear weapons programme. While they don't want to have actually weapons right now they do want to maintain the ability to build them in short order. Their space programme provides delivery vehicles.

Re:Come now. (2)

Luckyo (1726890) | about 4 months ago | (#47415139)

Reading the TFA pretty much tells you that your "likely explanation" is the exact opposite of what actually happened.

Hint: a cleric sitting in his office somewhere filing lots of reports accidentally pasted the wrong number into the column. Woops. Clearly, a government conspiracy to create nuclear weapons from material that you can't make any from in the first place.

Re:Come now. (1)

jpvlsmv (583001) | about 4 months ago | (#47417137)

Hint: a cleric sitting in his office somewhere filing lots of reports

Thank goodness we have the separation of church and state in the US. It's only our Patriotic Paladins who get to fill out reports over here.

Re:Come now. (1)

calixaren (1116263) | about 4 months ago | (#47414161)

In fact, no amount of weapon grade Pu was lost, even no Pu of any grade was lost either.

Reactor grade plutonium is useless for bombs... (1)

KonoWatakushi (910213) | about 4 months ago | (#47414201)

Reactor grade plutonium is useless for bombs, and parroting the lie doesn't change that. See Dr. Helen Caldicott: Toilet Paper & Plutonium at 5:50 [youtube.com] . (The other Caldicott videos by Thorium Remix [youtube.com] also offer further insight into a prototypical leader of the anti-nuclear movement. The source of this story, "The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists" belongs in the same class and deserves similar scorn for their rampant intellectual dishonesty.)

However, the article refers to unexposed MOX fuel, which is not the same thing, and the isotopically pure plutonium-239 can be separated in that case. The problem is that when Japan halted all of their reactors, the MOX fuel never made it into a reactor; had it been exposed in a reactor, there would be no issue. The safest place for fissile is in the core of a reactor, where it is rendered useless for weapons while producing vast amounts of energy. Molten salt reactors do an even better job and can thoroughly destroy all of the remaining spent fuel as well, which releases roughly 20 times more energy yet.

Re:Come now. (1)

Luckyo (1726890) | about 4 months ago | (#47415059)

Or, as has been pointed out in the TFA, it has most likely been a clerical error.

Meaning fissile material is actually accounted for, someone just messed up a copy paste into excel file somewhere among the line of filing lots of reports.

But let's panic!

Re:Come now. (1)

tlambert (566799) | about 4 months ago | (#47417945)

Let's not make a big deal out of this. 640kg of reactor-grade plutonium is only enough for a bit over 100 fission bombs / fusion bomb first stages, merely enough to make the recipient roughly tied for being the world's sixth most armed nuclear power.

Nothing to see here.

Clearly, you have never built a fission device, if you think you could get that many of them out of 640kg of even weapons grade Plutonium. You need to probably go back and read "The Curve of Binding Energy" and recalculate the neutron numbers to determine critical mass, assuming a pareto optimal design, because you are more than a bit high with "100"...

You could build a lot of dirty bombs with something like that, but you are likely better off just robbing a radiomedicine unit at a large research hospital to get the materials, or stealing a truck out of a fast food restaurant in Mexico City...

Misreporting (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47413651)

From TFA: "No plutonium was actually lost, ... the material ended up in the wrong column on a spreadsheet."

That's because all Pu isn't created equal. It begins as some Pu in a used fuel element. It can be separated to become elemental Pu, which is somewhat dificult. The Japanese incorporate this into MOX fuel, from which it could easily be separated again (which would be pointless, but never mind). And then the MOX fuel is used, and the Pu (both old and new) becomes difficult to isolate again. This particular 640kg of Pu is in the form of an unused MOX core for a reactor which was scheduled to be started, but due to the hasty shutdown of all nuclear power in Japan after March 2011 never was. So the Pu in the unused core ended up in the books as a used MOX core.

Moreover, Podvig hints that this is about weapons grade material. It's not. Japan doesn't have a (working) fast breeder, no Hanford-style Pu production reactor, and no Magnox-style dual purpose reactors. This Pu is from light water reactors, therefore heavily irradiated, therefore isotopically a mess, and therefore not weapons-grade and never going to be weapons grade by any means. But Podvig makes a living off the case of nuclear non-proliferation, so of course desaster is looming, or he wouldn't have a job anymore.

Re:Misreporting (1)

some old guy (674482) | about 4 months ago | (#47413751)

Somebody please mod AC +Informative. One of the few comments that seem to be informed about reactor physics, and not just conjecture from amateurs.

Re: Misreporting (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47413885)

But will it generate the necessary 1.21 jigawatts needed for time travel? Someone probaby took the 640kg and in turn, gave them a shoddy bomb casing full of used pinball machine parts.

Re: Misreporting (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47414231)

They forgot to account for the 640kg that was donated to the new program called "Plutonium in every corner drugstore!" They are... just 29 years late.

Re:Misreporting (2)

antifoidulus (807088) | about 4 months ago | (#47414013)

Damnit Microsoft, when are you going to finally include a Plutonium macro in Excel!

Re:Misreporting (1)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about 4 months ago | (#47414287)

Damnit Microsoft, when are you going to finally include a Plutonium macro in Excel!

Well this is the thing: for years, most of the requested features in Office have actually already been in there, but people simply didn't realise. Trust me, it's in there somewhere, but you have to be an expert at navigating the ribbon to find it.

Re:Misreporting (1)

bobbied (2522392) | about 4 months ago | (#47416091)

Damnit Microsoft, when are you going to finally include a Plutonium macro in Excel!

Well this is the thing: for years, most of the requested features in Office have actually already been in there, but people simply didn't realise. Trust me, it's in there somewhere, but you have to be an expert at navigating the ribbon to find it.

That's why they need to bring back that Paper clip.... "I see you are trying to find Pu.... "

Doc Brown (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47413671)

That should keep him going for a while... At least long enough to get that damned Mr. Fusion fixed.

Re:Doc Brown (1)

pslytely psycho (1699190) | about 4 months ago | (#47416553)

O'Reilly Auto Parts to the rescue!

http://www.oreillyauto.com/site/c/detail/EB00/121GMF.oap?keyword=121gmf

http://www.oreillyauto.com/site/c/detail/EB00/121G.oap?keyword=121g

We've heard this one before (4, Interesting)

Chrisq (894406) | about 4 months ago | (#47413677)

Sellafield in the UK lost nearly 30 kg of plutonium [wikipedia.org] in 2005. But that was on paper only.....except the plutonium washed out to sea [theguardian.com] . Of course it can't enter the human food chain can it? [theguardian.com]

Re:We've heard this one before (2)

Sockatume (732728) | about 4 months ago | (#47413771)

If I'm reading that right, the material wasn't lost, it just couldn't be accounted for after deliberate disposal because they made some seriously incorrect assumptions about how it would sequester itself in the environment. So that's a different issue.

Rounding error (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47413727)

Maybe they lost it because the tracking system has the weight field set to Kg with integer data type?

After thousands of transactions the rounding error became 640Kg?

Muto ate it? (1)

WormholeFiend (674934) | about 4 months ago | (#47413835)

Let's wake up Godzilla!

Re:Muto ate it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47413889)

Naaa. It was labeled on the containers as G.F. Godzilla food.

Why I vote Democrat (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47413895)

Why I vote Democrat

I vote Democrat because I believe it’s okay if our federal government borrows $85 Billion every single month.

I vote Democrat because I care about the children but saddling them with trillions of dollars of debt to pay for my bloated leftist government is okay.

I vote Democrat because I believe it’s better to pay billions of dollars to people who hate us rather than drill for our own oil, because it might upset some endangered beetle or gopher.

I vote Democrat because I believe it is okay if liberal activist judges rewrite the Constitution to suit some fringe kooks, who would otherwise never get their agenda past the voters.

I vote Democrat because I believe that corporate America should not be allowed to make profits for themselves or their shareholders. They need to break even and give the rest to the federal government for redistribution.

I vote Democrat because I’m not concerned about millions of babies being aborted, so long as we keep all of the murderers on death row alive.

I vote Democrat because I believe it’s okay if my Nobel Peace Prize winning President uses drones to assassinate people, as long as we don’t use torture.

I vote Democrat because I believe people, who can’t accurately tell us if it will rain on Friday, can predict the polar ice caps will melt away in ten years if I don’t start driving a Chevy Volt.

I vote Democrat because Freedom of Speech is not as important as preventing people from being offended.

I vote Democrat because I believe the oil companies’ profit of 3% on a gallon of gas is obscene, but the federal government taxing that same gallon of gas at 15% isn’t obscene.

I vote Democrat because I believe a moment of silent prayer at the beginning of the school day constitutes government indoctrination and an intrusion on parental authority .. but sex education, condom distribution and multiculturalism are all values-neutral.

I vote Democrat because I agonize over threats to the natural environment from CO2, acid rain and toxic waste .. but I am totally oblivious of the threats to our social environment from pornography, promiscuity and family dissolution.

I vote Democrat because I believe lazy, uneducated stoners should have just as big a say in running our country as entrepreneurs who risk everything and work 70 hours per week.

I vote Democrat because I don’t like guns .. so no one else should be allowed to own one.

I vote Democrat because I see absolutely no correlation between welfare and the rise of illegitimacy.

I vote Democrat because I see absolutely no correlation between judicial leniency and surging crime rates.

I vote Democrat because I believe you don’t need an ID to vote but you do to buy beer.

I vote Democrat because I believe marriage is obsolete, except for homosexuals.

I vote Democrat because I think AIDS is spread by insufficient funding.

I vote Democrat because I think “fairness” is far more important than freedom.

I vote Democrat because I think an “equal outcome” is far more important than equal opportunity.

I vote democrat because I would rather hide in a class room while others fight for my freedom.

I vote democrat because I’m not smart enough to own a gun and I need someone else to protect me.

I vote democrat because I would rather have free stuff than freedom.

And lastly, I vote Democrat because I’m convinced that government programs are the solution to the human condition, NOT freedom.

Why I vote Republican (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47414575)

I vote Republican because gay rape in our prisons is great.

I vote Republican because shoving sticks up men's assess and playing with their balls is an excellent interrogation method.

I vote Republican because raping boys and then redacting your own names from the report [wikipedia.org] is awesome.

I vote Republican because gays are evil and are destroying America.

I vote Republican because I want to spend trillions of dollars fighting wars in some country that doesn't want us there.

I vote Republican because I want to spend trillions of dollars fighting drug users in our own country.

I vote Republican because I believe it’s okay if our federal government borrows $85 Billion every single month.

I vote Republican because corporations have to break a few eggs to make an omelette.

I vote Republican because corporations shouldn't be expected to pay for the eggs they broke.

I vote Republican because companies shouldn't be forced to obey union contracts their management signed.

I vote Republican because people should be forced to obey the mortgage contracts they signed.

I vote Republican because the president must have Unitary Executive powers that cannot be reined in by Congress or the Supreme Court.

I vote Republican because immigrants are overrunning our borders.

I vote Republican because corporations need cheap immigrant labor.

I vote Republican because hypocrisy is OK when I do it.

And lastly, I vote Republican because I believe everyone should have the freedom to live the way the government tells them to live.

Re:Why I vote Republican (1)

Archtech (159117) | about 4 months ago | (#47414807)

Speaking as an ignorant and unimportant foreigner, I wonder why - in view of the previous two posts - more of you Americans don't vote for parties other than Republican or Democrat. That way you might get a government that rules in your interest, as citizens.

Just saying.

Re:Why I vote Republican (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47415149)

Many do, but it's truly irrelevant, as the third party candidate will almost certainly not be elected.

Right or wrong really doesn't mattrer, one has to work with what is possible.

Indeed if more citizens would vote these parties out it would matter, but it's not going to happen.

Re:Why I vote Republican (1)

Archtech (159117) | about 4 months ago | (#47422927)

I don't suppose anyone will even read this reply, but surely yours is an argument of despair? Moreover, isn't it slightly circular? And it certainly doesn't speak well for the health of democracy. If no party other than the two giants has any chance of being elected, what happens to the citizens' power to elect a government that will carry out their wishes?

Re:Why I vote Republican (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47415119)

I don't know what makes you think that Republicans believe in pretty much any of the things you are asserting.

Oh and really?

"I vote Republican because the president must have Unitary Executive powers that cannot be reined in by Congress or the Supreme Court."

Is this, as a Democrat, actually an issue for you? You may want to think that whole Obama thing through a little more.

Understand that for the most part it is the Democrats/Republicans playing good cop/bad cop against the people to push and enact statist, Democrat oriented policies and laws. Which apparently is all fun and games for the mouth breathers around here.

It is the conservative calling for the rule of law and adherence to constititutional protections of individual liberties and limited government.

And you fucksticks think you are so clever pointing at GWB all the time while ignoring the real tyranny being imposed by your Democrat masters.

Heh heh, yea real funny.

Re:Why I vote Republican (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47422449)

I don't know what makes you think that Republicans believe in pretty much any of the things you are asserting.

Go ahead and state your claim, and we'll see. So far you've earned 0 points for argument by farting upwind.

I'm up one citation on you, here's another: those officials resigned without charge [nytimes.com] , seems all them "tough on crime" Republican AGs just couldn't be assed do to jack shit. Bush's AG couldn't be bothered with it either [washingtonpost.com] . 3-0, suckah, show me where Republicans gave a damn about gay prison rape of boys or men.

Trillions on war in Iraq? Afghanistan? Ring any bells? Do I have to provide links to both the budgeted and non-budgeted costs of these wars? Fine then, Iraq alone totaled $823 billion up to 2011 [theguardian.com] . All in all we're going to pay 4 trillion for Bush's little expedition. [thehill.com] Damn Obummer for cutting them short!

War on drugs? Wow, where do I start? After decades of "winning" the "war on drugs" the GOP just reversed course [washingtonpost.com] last convention. So yeah, any day now, we'll be getting magic brownies at the local starbucks. It'll remain to be seen if they'll stay on this course, or if they'll turn their hypocrisy drive to maximum thrust and change direction again once they are in charge and are no longer using it as a states rights plank to beat Obama for refusing to stop enforcing federal law over states' legalization efforts. (I'm sure Boehner's got federal decriminalization on the agenda... somewhere.. right? Right? ... Bueller?)

While I'm on a roll, tell me, "as a Republican", which of these sentences you believe are true:

1) Unions force companies to sign contracts they can't afford.
2) Bankers force homeowners to sign contracts they can't afford.

Question 2:

Who deported more illegal immigrants? GWB or Obama? Go ahead, take your time. While you stick some plugs in to stop the smoke leaking out your ears, peruse the various tea party talking head blogs whining about how the Republicans are lenient on immigration, that might help you guess.

Lightning Round!

Who was the Republican bitch that thinks we're doing enough to deal with wrongly imprisoned innocent people, and that we should be happy to be paying our tax dollars to feed and shelter these people and paying even more tax dollars when the Republican prosecutors fighting to keep them in jail finally run out of appeals and the innocent get a huge check cut from the government? Did you answer Republican Joan Huffman [texastribune.org] ? Quote: "Texas has done a really good job to do what we can to compensate exonerees". Ka-Ching! Of course, how can handing out OUR tax money give someone back those lost years of freedom and gay rape? At least the prosecutor feels terrible [nytimes.com] . Surely between feeling sad and an appointment by Republican Rick Perry he has been punished enough for obstruction of justice in a case where holding the wrong man prisoner for years allowed the criminal to kill again?

Is this, as a Democrat, actually an issue for you?

What's that? Speak up sonny, all that "with us or against us!!!1!" shouting's got my ears ringing. You saying something about how Bush should be allowed to use executive orders to stick electrodes wherever the fuck he wants and damn Congress's Constitutional mandate to regulate the armed forces? I suppose it would be absolutely unConstitutional for Congress to try and stop the President from going and personally playing with prisoner's balls if that's his thing, but if Congress says "no member of the armed forces shall do this" then the Constitution says Congress is in charge of the UCMJ, and Bush should have sat and spun instead of spewing bullshit about how Congress was unconstitutionally interfering with his war.

Boy, though... it sure did get quiet when a Republican wasn't wielding that unitary executive might. I'd say I told you so, but damned if you care, because obviously if I'm not "with you" I must be a damn durty librul terrist. Couldn't possibly be a libertarian or someone who actually knows what the Constitution says and thinks that neither the Republicans nor the Democrats bother to obey it anymore. But hey, Boehner's gonna sue Obama, that'll show him!

How US lost track of 6 vials of smallpox (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47413903)

http://www.vox.com/2014/7/8/5881737/forgotten-vials-of-smallpox-were-just-found-in-an-old-fda-storage-room

"Scientists find the strangest things when they're cleaning out old refrigerators. Like smallpox. "Employees at the NIH stumbled on six forgotten vials of smallpox" Last week, employees at the National Institutes of Health campus in Bethesda, Maryland were cleaning out an old storage room when they happened upon six glass vials of smallpox that had been packed up in a cardboard box, placed in a refrigerator, and then forgotten."

Plutonium? Hah. That is nothing compared to smallpox.

Re:How US lost track of 6 vials of smallpox (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47414107)

Please don't spam slashdot with links to Daily Kos a.k.a. Vox. They have no credibility.

huh (2)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 4 months ago | (#47413935)

Sensationalize much?

From the Summary:

How Japan Lost Track of 640kg of Plutonium

From the Article:

No plutonium was actually lost

This was an accounting error, nothing more.

Re:huh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47415425)

You'd be amazed at how much you can hide with simple "accounting errors".

Re:huh (1)

bobbied (2522392) | about 4 months ago | (#47416129)

Sensationalize much?

From the Summary:

How Japan Lost Track of 640kg of Plutonium

From the Article:

No plutonium was actually lost

This was an accounting error, nothing more.

Then don't tell the IRS. Accounting errors are NOT an excuse... But neither is "my hard drive crashed" and we all know who uses that...

at least TFS is identified as a quote (1)

Gothmolly (148874) | about 4 months ago | (#47413937)

Usually memedot editors simply post the first paragraph of the original article as the summary, at least time they call out that it's a quote.

Solution (1)

coofercat (719737) | about 4 months ago | (#47413957)

Whenever I lose something, I go back to wherever I last saw it and retrace my steps. Have they tried that?

I think I know (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47413969)

Go to the Twin Pines mall in Hill Valley. I believe you'll find the missing plutonium in the possession of Dr. Emmett Brown.

Re:I think I know (1)

bobbied (2522392) | about 4 months ago | (#47416143)

Go to the Twin Pines mall in Hill Valley. I believe you'll find the missing plutonium in the possession of Dr. Emmett Brown.

To late, it's "Lone Pine Mall" now...

Damn! (2)

TheDarkMaster (1292526) | about 4 months ago | (#47413973)

Damn, they found my scheme! Now I will have to get plutonium for my diabolical plans elsewhere.

Why I vote Democrat (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47414031)

Repost!

Why I vote Democrat

I vote Democrat because I believe it’s okay if our federal government borrows $85 Billion every single month.

I vote Democrat because I care about the children but saddling them with trillions of dollars of debt to pay for my bloated leftist government is okay.

I vote Democrat because I believe it’s better to pay billions of dollars to people who hate us rather than drill for our own oil, because it might upset some endangered beetle or gopher.

I vote Democrat because I believe it is okay if liberal activist judges rewrite the Constitution to suit some fringe kooks, who would otherwise never get their agenda past the voters.

I vote Democrat because I believe that corporate America should not be allowed to make profits for themselves or their shareholders. They need to break even and give the rest to the federal government for redistribution.

I vote Democrat because I’m not concerned about millions of babies being aborted, so long as we keep all of the murderers on death row alive.

I vote Democrat because I believe it’s okay if my Nobel Peace Prize winning President uses drones to assassinate people, as long as we don’t use torture.

I vote Democrat because I believe people, who can’t accurately tell us if it will rain on Friday, can predict the polar ice caps will melt away in ten years if I don’t start driving a Chevy Volt.

I vote Democrat because Freedom of Speech is not as important as preventing people from being offended.

I vote Democrat because I believe the oil companies’ profit of 3% on a gallon of gas is obscene, but the federal government taxing that same gallon of gas at 15% isn’t obscene.

I vote Democrat because I believe a moment of silent prayer at the beginning of the school day constitutes government indoctrination and an intrusion on parental authority .. but sex education, condom distribution and multiculturalism are all values-neutral.

I vote Democrat because I agonize over threats to the natural environment from CO2, acid rain and toxic waste .. but I am totally oblivious of the threats to our social environment from pornography, promiscuity and family dissolution.

I vote Democrat because I believe lazy, uneducated stoners should have just as big a say in running our country as entrepreneurs who risk everything and work 70 hours per week.

I vote Democrat because I don’t like guns .. so no one else should be allowed to own one.

I vote Democrat because I see absolutely no correlation between welfare and the rise of illegitimacy.

I vote Democrat because I see absolutely no correlation between judicial leniency and surging crime rates.

I vote Democrat because I believe you don’t need an ID to vote but you do to buy beer.

I vote Democrat because I believe marriage is obsolete, except for homosexuals.

I vote Democrat because I think AIDS is spread by insufficient funding.

I vote Democrat because I think “fairness” is far more important than freedom.

I vote Democrat because I think an “equal outcome” is far more important than equal opportunity.

I vote democrat because I would rather hide in a class room while others fight for my freedom.

I vote democrat because I’m not smart enough to own a gun and I need someone else to protect me.

I vote democrat because I would rather have free stuff than freedom.

And lastly, I vote Democrat because I’m convinced that government programs are the solution to the human condition, NOT freedom.

Re:Why I vote Democrat (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47415363)

That is because you are a queer...

no ! (1)

CastleClashCheats (3739679) | about 4 months ago | (#47414049)

Unfortunately, I do not agree with this!

America! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47414051)

Buy the book BANNED by Costco!

Buy the book that Google can't seem to find in their search engine!

America!

http://www.dineshdsouza.com/news/

"Dinesh D’Souza, in response to the news of Costco removing his latest book, America: Imagine A World Without Her, from its shelves, made the following statement on July 8.

        Today, I was stunned to learn that Costco had pulled my latest book, America: Imagine A World Without Her, from all of its stores. This was despite the fact that the book had sold very well at the chain and that my movie of the same name was releasing on over 1,000 screens the very next day. Today, I am disappointed to learn that this news has been confirmed by Costco. This action confirms the suspicions of all freedom-loving Americans and is a direct attack on my livelihood which I take very seriously.

        In a free society, Costco is free to ban my book, but their customers are also free to shop at other stores which don’t censor books. In the book and the movie, I talk about the shaming of Americans and a culture of intimidation and censorship that has been spearheaded by the President himself. It’s one thing for Costco executives to pal around with President Obama and donate almost exclusively to Democrats. But to turn their company into a tool for suppressing dissent against the government is another matter.

        I urge all Americans to watch our film in their nearest theater and buy the book from an establishment that honors freedom of speech. Once they do that, they will understand why the President and his allies are so afraid of this message and determined to keep it from reaching the American people."

Or is it actually true that you people are too lazy to read anything that is longer than a blog post?

Re:America! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47414435)

Or maybe we just don't care about your spam.

Re:America! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47416683)

Or maybe we don't care about D’Souza's right-wing ranting.

It decayed (1)

ctrl-alt-canc (977108) | about 4 months ago | (#47414069)

They stored their plutonium stockpile carefully (also because packing it too tight is a very bad idea), but they were not aware that it was made of Pu-233 [periodictable.com] . This explains why the stockpile they bought was sold at such a bargain price on the market...

Nuclear Power (0)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 4 months ago | (#47414071)

Clean, safe and too cheap to meter.

Anybody who tries to use a misplaced 640 kilograms of plutonium to spread FUD about 1950's Energy Source of Future is just a damn liar.

But you have to admit, Japan has a pretty remarkable record with nukes. They must have it in their blood. At least the ones whose grandparents lived in Nagasaki.

Regarding the lost 1410 lbs of the deadliest substance on Earth, I'm pretty sure it has something to do with that giant lizard marching toward Tokyo (and no, I'm not referring to Shinzo Abe's economic policy).

Re:Nuclear Power (1)

Beyond_GoodandEvil (769135) | about 4 months ago | (#47414417)

Regarding the lost 1410 lbs of the deadliest substance on Earth,
By what metric do you declare Plutonium to be the deadliest substance on Earth? I only ask b/c not all Plutonium is created equal, and if the stuff remains Pu for ~100 minutes is it really all that deadly?

Re:Nuclear Power (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47415535)

and if the stuff remains Pu for ~100 minutes is it really all that deadly?

umm... yes? gamma radiation doesn't exactly agree with living things

Re:Nuclear Power (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 4 months ago | (#47417707)

By what metric do you declare Plutonium to be the deadliest substance on Earth?

Well, if it's not the deadliest, it's gotta be in the top ten. Doctor Jonathan Osterman, notwithstanding, that is.

Re:Nuclear Power (1)

ssam (2723487) | about 4 months ago | (#47415871)

>deadliest substance on Earth

"I'll eat a as much plutonium as you can eat of caffeine"
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

Re:Nuclear Power (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 4 months ago | (#47417511)

You will notice that while Dr Cohen offered to consume as much plutonium as you would caffeine, he never actually did so.

The annals of the history of science are littered with cranks.

Dr Cohen also said that he believed uranium to be a renewable resource. Unless he's figured out a way to grow uranium, I'm sure you'll agree there is a finite amount of the substance. Dr Cohen did not believe that the amount of uranium on Earth was finite.

Crackpot.

Re:Nuclear Power (1)

ssam (2723487) | about 4 months ago | (#47419831)

He was pointing out that we attach irrational levels of fear to some substances, while are completely unconcerned about consuming significant (if not deadly) amounts of other toxins. I don't know what the 'most deadly substance on earth' is, but there are plenty of things that will kill you at the mg level.

If you define 'renewable' to mean it will never run out then there is no such thing as renewable energy.

Re:Nuclear Power (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 4 months ago | (#47417543)

Oh wait, it gets better. The esteemed Dr Cohen also stated that you could not die from exposure to radiation.

I'm pretty sure you'll agree that 1410 lbs of plutonium is probably not safe to keep under your bed.

Re:Nuclear Power (1)

ssam (2723487) | about 4 months ago | (#47419951)

Do you have a reference for that? All I see is him pointing out that the linear no threshold model its unproven and inappropriate for low radiation doses.

High doses of radiation (and pretty much anything else) will obviously kill you. I bet the are 10s or hundreds of substances of which there is enough in your house to kill you consumed it all at once.

(Also worth noting that the plutonium in the article was not actually lost)

640k should be enough for everyone (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47414087)

I guess.

640 kilograms (0)

khr (708262) | about 4 months ago | (#47414097)

640 kilograms ought to be enough for anyone.

See the Apollo Affair (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47414153)

Which is about a US company losing "200 to 600" pounds of highly enriched uranium. This was discovered and investigated starting in 1965. Speculation has been that the uranium was diverted to Israel.
Source: Wikipedia, the source of all knowledge, some of it accurate.

Lost stuff stories abound. OK, one other (1)

jbmartin6 (1232050) | about 4 months ago | (#47414165)

Re:Lost stuff stories abound. OK, one other (1)

jbmartin6 (1232050) | about 4 months ago | (#47414167)

And nuts I just saw this was on /. earlier.

How does one... (1)

BlindRobin (768267) | about 4 months ago | (#47414171)

say oops in Japanese?

Re:How does one... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47416207)

say oops in Japanese?

At the end of WWII it was "I surrender" on the deck of the mighty MO.

Sent back in time to create Godzilla, duh. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47415077)

How could they miss that in their reports?

Did anyone check the closets at NIH? (1)

swillden (191260) | about 4 months ago | (#47415307)

I mean, the smallpox was there, why not the plutonium?

Not new (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47415661)

This is hardly a new thing. Read "The Leaky Establishment" by David Langford

kg? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47415749)

640 kilograms = 1,410 pounds

not everyone uses kilograms.

Re:kg? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47415955)

You are correct, not everyone uses KG, just most of the world.

The US remains the only industrialized country not using it.

Land of the rising nuke strikes again! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47416155)

Not a surprise considering their incredible carelessness before!

Haha (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47417613)

the only reason the discrepancy was discovered in this case was the fact that Japan has been unusually transparent about its plutonium stocks. ... No other country does this.

Sounds like the kind of response I'd expect from a dumbs liberal.

"Hi, Japan here - country that waged war on you a few decades ago. We're so nice at reporting everything to you. BTW, we just lost almost a tonne nuclear weapons raw materials. Have a good day! Hello Kitty~~"

Hissatu! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47418243)

If anyone thinks Japan does not have assembled or semi-assembled A-bombs stored somewhere, such a person is very naive. That's where the missing plutonium went.

Plutonium wants to be free! (1)

DutchUncle (826473) | about 4 months ago | (#47418891)

I am shocked, SHOCKED, that Slashdot would appear to support the paternalistic rights-management censorship attitude that "keeping track of dangerous material is generally a good idea."
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