Hope Star from Hope, Arkansas on August 19, 1974 · Page 10
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Hope Star from Hope, Arkansas · Page 10

Hope, Arkansas
Issue Date:
Monday, August 19, 1974
Page 10
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!»»«<• 21$ 'AUK.) STAH Monday, August 19, 1974 Making of nuclear weapons is no longer a private art Housewife in Summer camper Construction By WILLIAM STOCKTON AP Science Writer WASHINGTON (AP)- The figures had been checked and double checked, the storage _"containers in the vault examined once again. Hut the inventory still didn't 'add up. Finally, as required by law, Ray .lanka of Kcrr-McGce's nuclear fuels facility at Crescent, Okla., reached for his telephone arid dialed Jack Hind, the 'Atomic Energy Commission's security chief in the Chicago regional office. Hind grasped the gravity of ' Janka's news at once, fie or' dered his staff to work and in~ formed superiors in Washing." ton. " Kerr-McCJeo had discovered a MUF -- material unaccounted ; for. " The material was plutoriiurn, " 'a radioactive substance used in ' atomic bombs. Kerr-McGee ( fabricates plutonium fuel ele- J 'mcnLs for an experimental re:''actor in Richland, Wash. 7. More than three pounds of "''plutonium had disappeared. Three pounds is only a fraction . .of what terrorists would need to -fashion a crude atomic bomb, . but the shortage sent ripples of 1 alarm through the AEC. I" Next morning AEC inspector '., Charles Peck flew to Oklahoma City, where he rented a car and . .drove 40 miles northward . through rolling hills to Cres- j cent. 1 . There, he supervised a new !'.'inventory of Kerr-McGce pluto- .,' nium, seeking proof none had . .been stolen. .'" Ten days later everyone re., laxed. The plutonium was all 'there. A series of errors in the first inventory was the culprit. The Atomic Energy Commission says it is experiencing " about four MUFs a year. So far they all have been human or machine errors in the complex :.. inventory processes. Buz •Jack Hind's concern last Feb• ruary reflects a disturbing as- cully would be obtaining the "special nuclear material," a euphemism for weapons-grade plutonium or enriched uranium. "The art of making a crude device ... the information is available. It's all unclassified. The things they need are available on the general market," said E.B. Ciller, AEC's head of national security. Everything, that is, except the plutonium or enriched uranium that is the heart of a nuclear bomb. The AEC spent $50 million in fiscal 1973 and is spending $90 million this year for security at the several dozen facilities in the United States where potential bomb fuels are stored or used. The money also is to safeguard the transportation of this fuel around the country. There arc 45 nuclear plants producing electricity today for public utility companies. Sixty more are under construction. All are designed to use uranium, but not of the quality needed for bombs. Some physicists credit Dr. Theodore B. Taylor with heightening consciousness about the possib'K'ies of homemade atomic bombs. Considered a crack bomb designer two decades ago at the height of the Cold War, Taylor now heads a private research and development company. He has studied at length the minimum requirements in expertise and materials to build a workable bomb. "Under conceivable circumstances, a few persons, possibly even one person working alone, who possessed about 10 kilograms —22 pounds—of plutonium oxide and a substantial amount of chemical high explosive could, within several weeks, design and build a crude fission bomb," Taylor said. By Taylor's definition, a crude bomb would fit into an automobile — a delivery van, for example — and explode with the power of 200,000 pounds of TNT. Detonated dur- country to make nuclear devices, except to acknowledge that there is enough in existence to make dozens of bombs. With the prospect of a Hollywood script writer's fancies turned to reality, the quality of America's nuclear safeguards has become a matter of debate. "In our present situation there probably are some points in the system where an inside man and a determined group like the Symbionese Liberation Army could acquire some special nuclear material," Ciller conceded. In 1972 inspectors from the General Accounting Office, Congress' watchdog agency, studied safeguards at three unnamed AEC contractors and licensees. They also monitored nuclear material shipments. In two reports, one issued last fall and another last spring, inspectors documented how easily they gained access to special nuclear material. Chain link fences gave way. Doors, vents and windows quickly yielded entry to nuclear material storage areas. Guards were poorly qualified. One ship- ment of nearly 200 pounds of enriched uranium made a 200- mile trip in the back of an open flatbed truck. After the GAO inspections bui prior to release of the reports, the AEC began proposing or implementing tougher security requirements. Stricter limits on inventory accuracies like the one at Kerr- McGee went into effect 16 months ago. Tougher regulations for plant security and transportation became effective in March. AEC officials and critics of the AEC agree that transportation is the weak link in American safeguards. The AEC conveys most of its weapons- grade uranium and plutonium with its own drivers, guards and trucks, including special armored trucks designed to be impregnable under attack. Drivers and guards maintain constant radio communication with AEC headquarters. Security isn't as tight for nuclear materials shipped by four commercial companies licensed by the AEC. Before March security was minimal — no guards, no armored trucks. New guards and armored trucks used to carry money are employed. Drivers report to the home office by radio every two hous. But it will be several years before special trucks are available for the four commercial companies. More troublesome in coming years will be a continuous inventory of nuclear materials, making certain none have been stolen from a plant an ounce at a time for weeks or months. Unlike a bank, which can account for every penny, the accounting technology at a nuclear plant isn't sophisticated enough to tally every atom of potential bomb fuel. AEC officials say it will be several years before the system will detect a theft within hours. It took Kerr-McGee 13 days to conduct the February inventory. The AEC-supervised inventory lasted another 10 days. A theft after Kerr-McGee's January inventory might go un 7 detected for nearly six weeks. t . Business OH the nlCLCK Wave of criticism directed at police : pect of advancing nuclear tech• nology. The art of making a nu- ing rush hour in a large city, it • clear weapon no longer is the might kill thousands. • exclusive purview of govern- By comparison, the bomb i ment scientists toiling behind dropped on Hiroshima 29 years barbed wire fences with multi- ago this month exploded with million-dollar budgets. the force of 400,000 tons of There is growing fear in the TNT, killing about 85,000 U.S. nuclear community that a people, private group could build a AEC officials won't disclose crude but frighteningly deadly how much plutonium and en- atomic bomb. The main diffi- riched uranium exists in the By JONATHAN WOLMAN Associated Press Writer A new wave of criticism has been directed at police in several U.S. cities, and the reaction suggests precinct politics may be the most explosive issue now facing urban leaders. In a number of major cities the police are on the defensive after liberal politicians and reform-minded police began chipping away recently at time- honored promotion and hiring policies. The Detroit Police Department is undergoing painful changes to eliminate what the new black mayor calls "its whole goddamn racist attitude." In Atlanta, City Council members tried once to impeach the chief of police, and may try again. The mayor says, "for a period of time there was an independent paramilitary organization" in the city. The federal government is suing the City of Chicago, charging its police force discriminated against blacks, women and spanish-speaking persons in hiring and promotions. Where many police forces have long operated in virtual autonomy, these are the subject of widespread public debate, and increasingly, civilian review. "The council has an idealistic concept of where the city is going, and that law enforcement would not be necessary," says Berkeley, Calif., police Capt. Darrell Hickman. "They favor programs that would make the police unnecessary." Berkeley is a progressive community with strong student influences. Detroit and Atlanta are cities in transition. With increasingly large minority populations, both elected black mayors for thefirst time in 1973. Reports from each of the cities indicate the influence of politicians on the machinery of law enforcement agencies is growing. Atlanta Mayor Maynard Jackson recently said he was "astounded" at police overreaction to a series of civil rights demonstrations in the southern city. Detroit's Coleman Young, abolished the city's STRESS unit, an anticrime decoy squad which critics said were responsible for a number of unnecessary shooting deaths. Jackson abolished a similar squad in Atlanta. The issues differ slightly in each community, but the slow road of reform is unmistakable. OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - If there are any last-minute changes Mary Sue Mitchell wants in her new home under construction in a suburban area, she's right on hand to see that they're done. She's working as a carpenter's helper on the job, at $2 an hour. Arid her boss, Harold Wright, says he'd hire her for his next job, too. Mary Sue and her husband Jim, an appraiser for a logistics contractor, hired Wright last October to build the house. It wasn't long before Mary Sue, asked Wright for a job. Wright had watched Mary Sue search for, and then dig the dirt out of, an old well that had been filled in years ago. He was impressed with her determination and stamina as she shoveled dirt for three days, so he hired her. Mrs. Mitchell, an attractive 35-year-old housewife, hadn't worked since she quit a clerical job in 1960. But Wright expected her to keep up with carpenter Bud Robinson. She worked beside Robinson as they raised the walls, installed the vacuum system and laid bricks. Then they started her shingling the roof. It was her aptitude for shingling that finally won Mary Sue the accolade as "one of the boys," she believes. Her size — slightly over five feet tall and 100 pounds — proved a problem at first in carrying the heavy bundles of wooden shingles up to the roof. But then she devised a slide for them. Wright said she is a good shingler, faster than most men because her perception of what size cedar shingle which would fit a particular spot turned out to be almost perfect. MOSCOW (AP) - Like any other summer camper, 12-year- old Chuck Whitehead got homesick, played practical jokes on his counselor, didn't like some of the food and wrote dutiful letters home. But there was a difference: Chuck is an American and his camp was one for Soviet school children on the Black Sea near Yalta. He lives in Moscow with his parents, Mr. and Mrs. John Whitehead of Greenbelt, Md. Dad is an attache at the U.S. Embassy here. . Both the lively, black-haired seventh grader and his mother expressed satisfaction with the camp experience. "I had a nice time," Chuck said. "I wouldn't mind going back." "Chuck was going to a diplomatic school here, with no contact at all with Russians," added Mrs. Whitehead. "We thought it would be a good experience, though we told him he could come home if he didn't like it. But it turned out very well." Chuck was the only American at the Artek Pioneer Camp, which annually takes in 25,000 Soviet children and several hundred children from foreign countries, mostly from the Eastern European bloc. One out of every four children in this country spends part of his summer vacation at one of the many Pioneer camps scattered throughout the Soviet Union. Artek is the most prestigious camp, and a stay there is given as a reward to hard workers in both school and society, according to Soviet officials. The camp is coed, with boys and girls staying in the same houses but segregated by sex in the sparsely furnished sleeping rooms. Chuck bunked with three boys from Eastern bloc countries. "The Russians pretty much stayed with other Russians," he said. When he arrived, Chuck said, he didn't know that the camp was "so military, so snap-to." The Young Pioneers lead a regimented life, with practically every minute accounted for by their counselors; called commanders. Marching and ceremonies continued throughout the day, interspersed with sports, handicrafts, cultural activities, sightseeing and cleaning up the camp. But like all children, the campers tried to get around the regimentation whenever they could. "They tried to keep us in line when we marched, but nobody followed the rules," Chuck recalled. "As soon as the commander left, we'd back out of order." Chuck recalled little political indoctrination or lecturing about the Soviet system during his camp stay. During the day and around campfires at night, he taught them American songs, including U.S. Army recruit ditties. They communicated in his pidgin Russian, their pidgin English and a great deal of sign language. ff$f family center Women Join Forest Fire Fighters By MIKE STEPANOVICH ::. Silver City -'"•. Daily Press ;:, SILVER CITY, N.M. (AP) - r ; Fighting forest fires is sweaty, £ back-breaking work, but "it |£ sure beats waiting on tables," ;: says a U.S. Forest Service fire 'r fighter who has handled both ;; jobs. •£•• The professional fire fighter ;:; is Linda Day, a 27-year-old £, mother of twin boys. She's one •£, of only five women, all sta- ; . tioned at the Gila National For£ • est, who fight Forest Service x: fires in New Mexico. £ ' "What's the big deal about it r as long as we do our jobs," r. says Mrs. Day, a Reserve, ~ N.M., resident who is part of a £ five-member pumper crew. :: And, says 20-year Forest •: Service veteran Don Webb, fire z control officer for the forest, :: "The girls have done their jobs •: as well as the men and we >: have no adverse criticism." :: The crew also includes Molly •: Thomas, 20, of Island Park, ; Idaho, and Eva Aragon, 24, of ; Reserve, i The only woman member of ; a seven-person fire crew at the • Mimbres Ranger Station is Ann Prongay of Edison, N.J., who lives in nearby San Lorenzo and commutes to work daily. ; Maryann "Muffet" Foy, 22, of Bayard, N.M., is the newest woman firefighter. She says she got tired of an eight-to-five job at a local bank and went looking for something different. She wound up recently with a ; tactical helicopter crew based : at Lookout Point. ; A spokesman for the Forest Service regional office in Albuquerque said no other women serve on Forest Service fire fighting crews in New Mexico. He said there are no limits on assignments the female fire fighters are given — "We try to treat everyone just alike." That means the same rigorous four-day training program and the same daily routine of one-mile run, skipping rope and 80 minutes of organized recreation, such as volleyball or basketball. Miss Prongay said she was the only woman among 85 men during her training, and "I really felt conspicuous there. Everyone was apologizing to me for profanities or one thing or another." But crossing the sex barrier hasn't been all apologies, the women said. A number of male fire fighters remain skeptical. "A lot of guys resent our being fire fighters," says Miss Thomas. "They get uptight about it. They feel threatened." She is the only veteran among the five women, having worked for the Forest Service in Idaho last year. Mrs. Day said she thinks "men feel we're competing with them." And Miss Aragon muttered that "most of the men think we're nurses." Miss Thomas says the stereotypes are being broken and the women are at least on their way to acceptance. "I think we've changed a lot of people's minds about what we can do," she said. What they do, according to Mrs. Day, is "make hose lays, make the initial attack with the pumper crew and follow through with the mop-up stages." Miss Aragon put it more simply: "We just go out and fight fires. It's part of our routine." The two men on the pumper crew, Todd Hecker and John Barmory, say they're satisfied with the women's performance. "I've worked with women fire fighters before and wasn't too impressed. But these three really surprised me," says Hecker, who came to the GUa from Angeles National Forest in California. Barmory agreed: "The girls put forth a lot more effort and once they get the hang of the job they do better than some men I've seen." Even Webb, who admits to some lingering skepticism, said the women "really know their stuff. This pumper crew has been dispatched all over the state and they have done a great job. Men couldn't have done any better. "We don't play favorites," he said. "Women fire fighters must do the job. They must climb the same mountains, fight the same fires and maintain the same conditioning as the men." That seems to suit the women JUSUAY "CHARGE IP PRICES GOOD THUR. A UG 22ND. 100% Polyester DOUBLE KNIT The easy-care, all-purpose fabric! Perfect weight for any season! 58"-60" Wide. Full bolts. All first quality. Machine wash warm, tumble dry, remove promptly. Never, never iron... it's permanent press! Huge assortment of colors. 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"If anything it's harder," she said, "because the women had to prove their ability to the men." Webb said acceptance isn't the only problem with women crew members. "In our isolated locales, our current facilities are not for women," he said. "We have had to provide special quarters apart from the men and set up a schedule when the girls can use the shower facilities." Webb said he was also a little concerned about how co-ed fire crews "will be accepted by wives of married personnel." He said two-person co-ed teams will not be sent to overnight fires. Miss Foy says the facilities at Lookout Point have presented no problems and so far "there's been no hassle. All the men have been real helpful, cooperative and friendly." Her supervisor, George Grijalva, says he's not concerned about her ability to handle the Super Duck Prints 100% Cotton, novelty denim prints. 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