CBS and NBC both ran nuclear stories--NBC benign ones and CBS scary. CBS' feature by Bob Orr was an Exclusive on the Department of Energy's "nuclear SWAT teams" that gather up spent fuel rods from Soviet-era nuclear power plants. That work has special urgency, Orr reminded us, since just 12 days ago border guards in Slovakia intercepted smugglers trying to sell enriched uranium. The rods are transferred in "shielded blue transfer tanks" and kept at a "secure secret storage facility in Russia." Orr showed us the map: the plants are in the former Soviet Union--Latvia, Uzbekhistan; the Third World--Libya, Vietnam; the former Yugoslavia--Serbia; and former Warsaw Pact nations--Germany, Poland, the Czech Republic, Romania, Bulgaria.
NBC's Robert Bazell told us about the Chalk River nuclear processing plant in Ontario that is the source of most of the radioactive isotopes used in nuclear diagnostic screening in hospitals throughout the United States--some 15m scans each year. The plant was closed in November and will not produce the isotope for another three months so already tests are being skipped and labs have started triage.
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