C.C. Thomas - Western New York Nuclear Research Center
It is not the purpose of this paper to point a finger at any specific organization or to hold individuals of such organizations up to ridicule. All parties concerned shall remain anonymous except to that small handful of people who were intimately involved and consequently will recognize the circumstances and except, of course, my own organization and the part I played in the drama. I am simply taking a recent situation to make a point. One of the basic principals of Nuclear Materials Management has long been that the materials should receive attention compatible with its dollar value. For many years we have assumed that the dollar value of nuclear materials and especially special nuclear materials was sufficiently high to insure adequate control of the material. However, there are a couple of other attributes of special nuclear material which cannot be ignored and may even on occasion warrant attention. Most recently we have seen a resurgence of concern for the strategic value of special nuclear materials riding hard on the heels of apparent proliferation of nuclear weapons capability. This is a subject that could stand a good deal of discussion but it is not the theme of this paper. The other attribute of special nuclear material which demands attention is its capacity to fission and this sets it apart from other materials.