Oak Ridge Nuclear Material in Good Hands, UT Professor Says

Imported nuclear materials being held in Oak Ridge pose very little threat to East Tennesseans, a University of Tennessee nuclear engineering professor said Thursday.

Recently shipments of low-enriched uranium and other radioactive materials were retrieved from Iraq by personnel from the Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Dr. Harold Dodds of UT said it is thought that the materials could have been used to make a “dirty bomb,” an explosive device that would release radioactive material. But without knowing the precise nature of the materials, it would be hard to predict such a bomb’s effectiveness, he said.

Although there are few details about the Iraqi radioactive materials, they are often used in industrial measurements and scans, and in medical evaluation and treatment, Dodds said. The materials pose very little risk to the community, he said.

“The scientists and engineers in Oak Ridge are very well trained and have complete control of the situation.”