You would think that in this day of terrorist threats and visions of dirty bombs that this would not be an issue. You would hope that your government would have your back. And then you remember the INS approval of Mohammed Atta’s student visa six months after 9/11.
Now, the government’s nuclear watchdog, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, has entered into the world of inept government agencies:
Congressional investigators set up a bogus company with only a postal box and within a month obtained a license from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission that allowed them to buy enough radioactive material for a small “dirty bomb.”
He said “there is no question” they could have obtained enough radioactive material to make a dirty bomb because the GAO was able to duplicate the certificate and no one checked on the company or whether the counterfeit license was legitimate.
A so-called dirty bomb could spread radiation by a conventional explosion but does not have a nuclear detonation.
If you were to suggest that the Department of Energy be disbanded, the NRC abolished and the energy industry allowed to police itself, you would be branded naive, stupid or plain psychotic. But I have to ask: could they do any worse? If the government can’t keep from giving bogus companies and possible terrorists access to purchase radioactive material, perhaps we should let someone else try. Someone with a vested interest in improving the image of nuclear power. Perhaps the private sector could do this job better?
The GAO also tried to get a license from the state of Maryland, one of 34 states that the NRC has given authority to handle such licensing. Unlike the NRC, the Maryland officials said they wanted to visit the company, so the investigators withdrew their application.
Hmmm. Seems even the states can do a better job.
Time to go, boys. Close the door on your way out. Saving energy, you know.