Copyright © 2000 the
International Herald Tribune All Rights Reserved
Traces of Plutonium In Shells, U.S. Says
Monday, January 22, 2001
BRUSSELS Just when it thought it had the
depleted uranium scare under control, NATO may
face a fresh onslaught of concern as the United
States belatedly confirmed that some of the
munitions contain minute traces of plutonium.
Uranium is one thing. Plutonium is quite another,
especially if it arises from flaws at a problem
plagued U.S. nuclear plant.
Plutonium, a known carcinogen, is a heavyweight
in the lexicon of scare words. Scientists have been
quoted as saying that a particle as small as a
millionth of an ounce, if inhaled, can cause a fatal
The German defense minister, Rudolf Scharping,
summoned the U.S. charge d'affaires in Berlin to
seek more information, after a German television
network reported on the plutonium factor.