Idaho school can't find small bit of weapons-grade plutonium
BOISE, Idaho -
(AP) - Idaho State University says it can't find a small amount of radioactive, weapons-grade plutonium about the size of a U.S. quarter, and federal officials are proposing an $8,500 fine.
The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission said in a statement Friday that the university can't account for about a 30th of an ounce (1 gram) of the material that's used in nuclear reactors and to make nuclear bombs.
Officials say the amount is too small to make a nuclear bomb but could be used to make a dirty bomb to spread radiation.
The university says documents from 2003 and 2004 identify the material as being on campus. But the school in Pocatello says a search in October failed to find the plutonium.
School officials didn't immediately respond to inquiries from The Associated Press.
This story has been corrected to show that the missing plutonium is about a 30th of an ounce, not a third of an ounce.
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