the us energy department is abandoning plans to sell its surplus stock of nickel, mainly leftovers from nuclear weapons manufacture, for fears that it may be too radioactive to sell on the open market.
In August 1997, the departmenthad announced that it would sell6,000 tonnes of nickel in late 2000, for$ 41 million, in a move to tradeoff materials left over from manufacturing weapons. There were alsoplans to sell another 10,000 tonnes later.
It was known that the material was radioactive. But since there was no standard measure of how much radioactivity in such material was unsafe for human beings, the plan did not violate any rules.
However, horrified scrap dealers and steel industry leaders raised objections. They feared having to explain to their customers that their product was even mildly radioactive. "It would hurt our workers and facilities if it isn't in fact safe, and the people won't even believe its safe,' said Thomas Sneeringer, senior vice-president of the Iron and Steel Institute, a us -based trade group.