Science: Tritium Puzzle

An H-bomb ingredient is gone, and no one knows where

The mystery was great enough to disturb even the most jaded cold warrior. Somewhere between Oak Ridge, Tenn., and two manufacturers in England, a total of five grams (0.175 oz.) of radioactive tritium had vanished without a trace. What made the disappearance especially alarming was that the quantity of tritium involved was sufficient, when combined with other ingredients, to build a small nuclear weapon. The U.S. Department of Energy, sensitive to the dangers of nuclear proliferation, last July halted U.S. sales of the gas and moved quickly to explain the losses and assure the public that the missing tritium had not...

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