U.S. Rep Joaquin Castro (D-San Antonio) is among those demanding answers from Energy Secretary Rick Perry after a public interest group reported Monday that two key ingredients of nuclear weapons were 'lost' by Energy Department employees in San Antonio 16 months ago, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.
The Center for Public Integrity says two employees of the Idaho National Laboratory were returning a shipment of plutonium and cesium from an unidentified San Antonio research lab and transport it back to Idaho.
But the CPI reports that while the two Energy Department Employees' rented van was parked 'at Marriott Hotel on Loop 410,' the vehicle was broken into and the material was stolen.
That was in March of 2017, and, in a letter to Perry, Castro asks first why this was not reported to the public or to Congress.
"Considering the significant danger to the public of loose radioactive material, why was the public not notified of this incident immediately after it occurred?" Castro asked in his letter.
Castro is also demanding that Perry appear before Congress to explain this incident, as well as explain whether any other nuclear bomb materials have 'gone missing' and the public doesn't know about.
"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?"
A spokeswoman for the Idaho facility told the CPI that the amount of material stolen was 'not enough to create a nuclear bomb' and there is 'little or no danger' from the materials being lost.'
The CPI reports that so much nuclear material goes missing from Energy Department labs that the department even has a designation for it, "MUF," or "Material Unaccounted For." The CPI says it is not unusual for nuclear materials in Energy Department care to be loaned to labs for use in research.
“As a representative of San Antonio, I am seeking all information pertaining the ongoing efforts to locate the MUF. While I understand the sensitive nature of this subject, there are a number of unanswered questions which I will need answers to provide the necessary information to my constituents who are concerned by this event," Castro said.