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Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D.

Pakistan's Newspaper Ads - What Does Nuclear Material Look Like?

By May 5, 2007

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BBC News reported on newspaper ads being run by the Pakistani government asking the public to report any 'lost or stolen' radioactive material they may have come across. Excuse me? Lost or stolen? Although Pakistani officials denied any nuclear material had gone missing or been stolen, a spokesperson for the nuclear authority told a different tale, saying there was a remote chance some old nuclear material may have been misplaced. Zaheer Ayub Baig, information services director of Pakistan's Nuclear Regulatory Authority, said the ads are simply part of a public awareness campaign to let people know about the dangers of radiation from material used in hospitals and industrial plants. Riiiight. That would be why the dangers of nuclear material aren't discussed on the ads.

What's most amusing about this story are the ads themselves. Do they describe what nuclear material looks like? How will you know if you have any? It must be because all nuclear material is stamped with a radioactive symbol and glows bright green, unlike this lovely piece of piece of weapons-grade plutonium pictured in my post. Stories like this just make you stop and go hmmm.
Photo: Los Alamos National Lab
What Is a Neutron Bomb? | What is Radioactivity?
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