That Plutonium In San Antonio And Live Stream Putin-Trump Press Conference

A couple of reporters who take their job to be spreading maximum fear about nuclear radiation have found a story in San Antonio, Texas.

Staff from Idaho National Laboratory were picking up cesium and plutonium sources from a laboratory and left them in their rental car overnight. The car was broken into and the sources and other equipment stolen.

That was carelessness and should be looked at in the light of other careless incidents in the DOE system. When I’m traveling, I always bring in anything from the car that looks like it might be worth stealing. Even the stuff that is worth stealing but doesn’t look that way.

But the sources probably contain a few milligrams of cesium and plutonium. I haven’t done the calculations, but it probably would take a couple hundred years to accumulate enough plutonium for a fission bomb and cesium for a “dirty bomb” at that rate.

But the article goes on at length about bombs and such, as these reporters often do. It’s a strategy of fear for clicks, or perhaps these two really are terrified of anything to do with radiation. They also hyperventilate at the thought of terrorists taking the long view and waiting a couple of hundred years to get that TERROR BOMB.



There’s not enough happening today, so here is the live stream of the two-president press conference.

63 replies
  1. 1
    rikyrah says:


    I’m just gonna be honest here.
    We can’t make this shyt up. If it were written in a movie script, the script would be returned rejected with,


    scribbled in the margins.
    This entire Administration is that script.

  2. 2

    Well that was a rational explanation of a very scary headline that dashed across my computer screen this a.m. Thanks.

  3. 3

    I’ve upgraded the post to include the Putin-Trump press conference live stream.

  4. 4
    Don says:

    Once in awhile I recall some of the almost accidents that happened while making accelerator ion source components or targets back in the day. But then I recall how truly small the amounts of isotopes were, and take a deep breath to relax. Then there were the overreactions by the Universities’s aradiation Safety Officers that were comical in retrospect. Ah, the pleasures of grad school!

  5. 5
    The Dangerman says:

    Oh, goody, let’s count the ways Donnie got rolled and trolled.

  6. 6
    Doug R says:

    Dirty bomb is a worry, especially with plutonium.

  7. 7

    @Doug R: The cesium is more of a worry for a dirty bomb, but not two milligrams’ worth.

  8. 8
    rikyrah says:

    Following indictment of Russian operatives, Rand Paul shrugged
    07/16/18 09:00 AM
    By Steve Benen

    After traveling to Moscow over the 4th of July holiday, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) – the chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, who also chairs a Senate Foreign Relations panel – came back with some unexpectedly provocative thoughts about U.S. policy toward Russia.

    For example, the Wisconsin Republican questioned the efficacy of existing sanctions, before insisting that concerns about foreign interference in American elections has been blown “way out of proportion.”

    Johnson’s comments looked a little worse when, a week later, 12 Russian intelligence officials were indicted for their role in attacking our political system in 2016.

    But at least Johnson can argue he hadn’t seen the new indictment when he made his recent comments – which is more than we can say about Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who waited until after the indictment to make the case that the attack on our elections was no big deal. The Kentucky Republican, who also serves on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told CNN’s Jake Tapper yesterday, “We all do it.”

    “I think really we mistake our response if we think it’s about accountability from the Russians. They are another country. They are going to spy on us. The do spy on us. They are going to interfere in our elections. We also do the same.”

  9. 9
    maya says:

    Sanantonium discovered on Pluto.

  10. 10
    Quinerly says:

    Putin goons removing a credentialed journalist from The Nation.

  11. 11

    @Cheryl Rofer: Well science is hard and so is math. Sensationalism gets clicks, also too.

    -Our innumerate press.

  12. 12
    Quinerly says:

    Watch this! Journalist being drug out.

  13. 13
    EBT says:

    And isn’t the major danger with a dirty bomb the traditional explosion? Doesn’t radiological material have to be airburst to spread and be more dangerous than say, exploding a bunch of mercury and getting heavy metal poisoning everywhere?

  14. 14
    The Ancient Randonneur says:


    Another Russian apologist.

  15. 15
    germy says:


    Putin goons removing a credentialed journalist from The Nation.

    But I thought they were sympathetic? Why remove someone from that outlet?

  16. 16

    @EBT: That’s my read. It’s actually hard to disperse stuff. But reporters like the two I’ve linked will fan fear, which will cause panic. I think that’s the worst danger, which is why I have so little patience with this genre of reporting.

  17. 17
    rikyrah says:

    Trump struggles to tell the difference between friend and ‘foe’
    07/16/18 08:00 AM—UPDATED 07/16/18 09:24 AM
    By Steve Benen


    President Donald Trump is going into his much-anticipated meeting with Russian president Vladimir Putin on Monday having called the European Union “a foe” of the United States and with the promise that nothing bad will come from the discussion.

    “I think we have a lot of foes,” Trump told CBS Evening News in a segment of an interview that first aired on “Face the Nation.” “I think the European Union is a foe, what they do to us in trade. Now you wouldn’t think of the European Union, but they’re a foe.”

    As part of the same response, the American president added, “Russia is foe in certain respects. China is a foe economically, certainly they are a foe. But that doesn’t mean they are bad.”

    So, asked to name the United States’ “biggest” international foe, the European Union – which is to say, our allies – was the first thing that came to Trump’s mind. Russia and China came next, though the Republican’s comments about them came with qualifiers.

  18. 18
    Neldob says:

    @Quinerly: I missed something here. What are you talking about?

  19. 19

  20. 20
    Quinerly says:

    Any details on Twitter about this journalist from The Nation just being drug out of the presser by Putin’s goons? He was credentialed, had a seat, and had a sign

  21. 21
    Quinerly says:

    @Neldob: MSNBC just showing it.

  22. 22
    Quinerly says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: OK, thanks… MSNBC reported he was a journalist from The Nation.

  23. 23
    Chyron HR says:


    “I think really we mistake our response if we think it’s about accountability from the Russians.”

    Uh, yeah, dipshit, that’s why we’re investigating you guys colluding with the Russians.

  24. 24
    MomSense says:


    Oh great. Trump will now have goon envy.

  25. 25

    @Quinerly: I’m wary of all early reports. Hopefully it will be clarified later.

  26. 26
    Quinerly says:

    @MomSense: that ship has sailed. Plus, Putin has large feet and hands. 😉

  27. 27

    Putin mentions New START. That’s good.

  28. 28
    Quinerly says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: I know but I was watching it in real time. Quite startling.

  29. 29

  30. 30

    It’s a strategy of fear for clicks, or perhaps these two really are terrified of anything to do with radiation.

    People absolutely freak the fuck out about anything to do with the word ‘nuclear’, and they’re not interested in understanding context. It is common even among the most reasonable and educated people.

  31. 31
    germy says:

    Watching that journalist dragged out, trump must be thinking “I wish I could do that to those CNN motherfuckers…”

  32. 32
    Timurid says:

    Why didn’t the Finn security/cops intervene?

  33. 33
    FlipYrWhig says:

    I’m sure if government workers under Obama lost a box full of plutonium everyone would just say “shit happens” and shrug.

  34. 34

    Trump is wishing he could do it in general. It is exactly the kind of absolute power to be petty and spiteful that he has made it clear he idolizes. Another way he is a typical Republican voter.

  35. 35

    Quite a bit about the JCPOA.

    Now on to the Minsk talks. Putin wants the US to “nudge” the Ukrainian government to be more cooperative.

  36. 36

  37. 37
    Platonailedit says:


    From The Nation. Is that a lefty org?

  38. 38

    @Cheryl Rofer:

    the JCPOA.

    I’ve seen it before, but Putin is a master troll.

    Putin says he had to repeat that the “Russian state” had nothing to do with it.

    Oh, well, that settles everything, then. Our president sure is a tough negotiator who gets results!

  39. 39
  40. 40

  41. 41

    Trump is actually reading a statement and sticking to it so far. Sounds like he contributed to it, but someone who knows something also helped write it.

  42. 42

  43. 43
    EBT says:

    @Frankensteinbeck: Just wait until you see the reaction I get when I talk about the old tritium flashlight an ex of mine made. Bunch of tiny tritium rods affixed to a reflector inside a normal eveready flashlight.

  44. 44
    rikyrah says:

    Barrack Obama is so much at peace, and relaxed… looking very happy to be in Kogelo 🤡🤡
    Clapping 👏 👏 to every performer, and even dancing to the songs… 😂#ObamaKaribuDala #ObamaInKogelo @citizentvkenya

    — Arthur Mbugwa (@2015ArthurM) July 16, 2018

  45. 45
    Quinerly says:

    @rikyrah: 💜💚💙❤️♥️

  46. 46

  47. 47
    Matt McIrvin says:

    The main worry is that the thieves will accidentally poison themselves, or somebody else.

  48. 48

    @Matt McIrvin: Even that is a pretty slim chance with the amounts of cesium and plutonium involved.

  49. 49

  50. 50
    Major Major Major Major says:

    Thanks Cheryl, I assumed the plutonium thing was a dumb non-story and was hoping you’d weigh in!

  51. 51
    NotMax says:

    Just as an aside, one of the more curious attractions on the nuclear midway.

  52. 52

    He can’t give it up.


    He is looking very low-energy. Sticking to uncontroversial stuff. This is actually kind of boring.

  53. 53
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @Quinerly: you missed the big St. Louis meet up last night! Marcopolo and I had a big time, but I understand the importance of solidifying your Colombian connection.

  54. 54

    Putin agrees there was no collusion. Time to wrap it up, Bob Mueller!

  55. 55
    rikyrah says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:

    Striking, how docile and cowed Trump is here, contrast with his obnoxious press conference after Nato summit.

    — Laura Rozen (@lrozen) July 16, 2018

    He’s with his boss.

  56. 56
    Quinerly says:

    @Steve in the ATL: glad you had fun. Sounds like you are through here quite a bit. Another time. Did you go to Dressels? Old haunt of mine back in my law school days. Thought Marcopolo picked a good place. CWE watering holes somehow got off my radar after I left Midtown.

  57. 57
    The Dangerman says:

    I knew Putin would ball Trump.

    Is Trump sundowning? WTF is this server shit?

  58. 58
    different-church-lady says:

    I haven’t done the calculations, but it probably would take a couple hundred years to accumulate enough plutonium for a fission bomb and cesium for a “dirty bomb” at that rate.

    Yah, yah, yah, but is it enough to kill the thieves?

  59. 59
    Tokyokie says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: For what it’s worth, of the major metropolitan dailies in Texas (The Dallas Morning News, Houston Chronicle, Austin American-Statesman, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, and San Antonio Express-News), the Express-News has long been regarded as hands-down the crappiest. And that was before the huge staff layoffs, which have made all those dailies significantly worse. I’m guessing the Express-News’ reporters are fresh out of college, and not particularly good ones or with particularly impressive GPAs.

  60. 60
    L85NJGT says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:

    A Cold War style summit with a country that has an economy smaller than Italy’s is an empty gesture?

  61. 61
    Robert Sneddon says:

    @different-church-lady: Depends what isotopes of Plutonium and Cesium they are. I presume the Cs is -137, half-life of about 30 years or so. That would be noticeably radioactive. A similar amount of Pu-239 as used in nuclear weapons would be a lot less radioactive, half-life of (from memory) roughly 86,000 years or about 250 times less radioactive per milligram. If it was a mix of Pu-239 and Pu-240 from a power reactor then a bit more radioactive as Pu-240’s half-life is approx. 650 years but still not that dangerous.

    Emissions — Cs-137 decays emitting a 500keV beta particle and sometimes an accompanying gamma of the same energy. Pu-239 and Pu-240 both emit a hot alpha particle on decay, energetic but easy to shield unless it’s absorbed in tissue like the stomach or the lungs.

  62. 62

    @different-church-lady: Not unless they eat it, maybe not even then.

  63. 63
    Calouste says:

    @schrodingers_cat: Journalists are people who are too bad at math to even do business administration and too bad at logic to even do law.

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