Thanks for the info, Doc
and you too, pnac.
To continue the thread drift just a little longer, After having read the DOE report, I'm not at all concerned. While 20kg of SMN is enough to achieve minimum critical mass, we are talking about material in small amounts, distributed to many different "non governmental agencies" for research, over the past 50 years! Taken in total, the material unaccounted for seem like a dangerous amount, but I think the reality is somewhat different.
And the large amount of uranium is of very little consequence, again, for the same reasons. Although 194 metric tons seems like a huge amount, again, reality is somewhat different. Uranium is heavier than lead, and the amount named would fit in about 40 55gal drums worth of space. And only a very small percentage of the uranium was enriched uranium. As a toxic metal, Uranium is less dangerous than arsenic, beryllium, or a number of other common chemicals.
To come back a little closer to the point of this thread, a report of loss of 200+kgs of plutonium (and the unaccounted for SNM in the linked report was only 1/10th that claimed amount) is just the kind of thing that, taken out of context, without any background info that sends the uninformed into a panic. Just as the information that the Times Square bomber bought a gun was intended to do.
So WHAAT if he bought a gun? As a (naturalized) American citizen, with no criminal record, he was entirely within the law. This happens many thousands of times EVERY DAY across this country. Of course, if Mayor Bloomberg had things the way he wants, that would change. Radically.
Prohibiting persons on the Terror Watch list and the No Fly list from buying a gun (from an FFL dealer, the only method the Federal government has the authority to regulate) is, considering the bureaucratic inefficiency and out right stupidity of the management of those lists, a very poor idea. At least it is from my point of view. Because we have all seen or heard of examples of these lists hampering totally law abiding citizens.
With no publicly admitted criteria for what puts one "on the list" and no means of challenge and review, it is rife for abuse, accidental, or otherwise.
Although I have not yet ever had any problem with the instant background check when buying a gun from an FFL, I mentally cringe every time it is run on me. Not from any fear due to my wrong doing, but from a fear of the problems I would have to face and overcome if/when a bureaucratic error flags me as "no sale". At least there, if/when it happens, I have a legal method to challenge the finding.
It should be better today, but at one time, the accuracy of the system was consided...iffy. We've come a long way, but no system is perfect, and one without any process for challenging error is worst of all. And thats what we appear to have with these lists. And the good Mayor wants to use them for even more than they currently are. I, for one, find that unsettling.
All else being equal (and it almost never is) bigger bullets tend to work better.