Nuclear paperweights

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Thieves of nuclear weapons parts are rarely as innocent as the ones reported in the DENVER ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS. Thirty dumpster-diving workers at the now-closed Rocky Flats nuclear weapons plant found themselves extra-special souvenirs in the plant’s trash bins — nuclear bomb components that had failed quality control.

Officials say the workers won’t be punished, since they didn’t realize the error of their ways. In fact, they tended to display the parts on their desks, using them as candy dishes and paperweights. “It was not unreasonable of them to believe they could go in and pick the stuff up,” says an understanding plant clean-up manager.

Nonetheless, an Energy Department report says it’s conceivable that nuclear secrets could have fallen into the wrong hands (what, again?). The report blames sloppy plant inventory controls.

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