Rep. Castro demands answers after dangerous nuclear material stolen from SA

SAN ANTONIO – Rep. Joaquin Castro is demanding answers from U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Rick Perry after an investigative report revealed dangerous nuclear materials were stolen from a car parked at a San Antonio hotel in March 2017.

The investigative report from the Center for Public Integrity revealed that two people from the Department of Energy’s Idaho National Laboratory lost plutonium and cesium and other equipment used to detect radiation.


“I am deeply concerned with reports of the March 21, 2017 incident in San Antonio in which two Department of Energy employees lost radioactive material," Castro said. "Reports indicate the material unaccounted for (MUF) includes radioactive samples of plutonium and cesium posing serious U.S. national security and health risks to my district, Texas and our nation."

Castro asked Perry a series of questions pertaining to the danger the materials pose and frequency of occurrence.

Castro shared a list of questions he posed to Perry following the report:

  • Considering the significant danger to the public of loose radioactive material, why was the public not notified of this incident immediately after it occurred?
  • What is the Department of Energy’s disclosure and notification procedure after any such loss of radioactive material?
  • How much plutonium and cesium are missing from the March 2017 incident?
  • What information do you have about the March 2017 incident and the following incident?
  • What elements of the Department of Energy or other federal or local agencies are involved in the recovery of the MUF?  If so, what progress has been made to date with their attempts at recovering the MUF?
  • Please list all incidents in the last five years that detail the loss of radioactive materials controlled or owned by the Department of Energy in Texas that has not been reported to Congress?
  • In the event of MUF involving radioactive material, how did you notify members of Congress whose districts or states were at risk?
  • What assistance is the Department of Energy providing local law enforcement, the FBI, and other law enforcement agencies tasked with the recovery of such radioactive material unaccounted for with their investigations?