Kingman Daily Miner: When it comes to shipping nuclear materials, somebody needs to know

March 26, 2019

It has been happening for a long time. It has been happening in our backyards. On the roads we drive. In proximity to schools.

Radioactive materials, specifically plutonium, have come into proximity of all of us as the government has shipped it along the state’s highways on the way to storage in Nevada. Plutonium is a radioactive, silver metal that can be used to create or destroy. It is a radiological hazard and must be handled with specialized equipment and precautions.

What we are concerned about is that no one was told that there was a material being shipped on our thoroughfares that can kill everything it comes in contact with. That people have to have specialized training and handling equipment to get near it. That a miniscule amount is toxic and lethal.

If something were to ever happen to these shipments, we would be unable to properly respond. Especially when no one, not even our first responders, knows that the shipment is there.

There would be no way to respond to an accident with plutonium. The federal government would likely not be forthcoming when it comes to containing the problem, and if none of our safety officials knows plutonium is in the mix, they could easily come into contact with these radioactive materials. That the more people who know about something, the easier it is for someone who is looking to cause harm to find that information.

However, we are at risk.

It is our water, our children, our health that are being put at risk, and we have a right to know. The federal government should never hide that from us. We, as citizens, have a right to know the dangers we could face.

— Kingman Daily Miner