According to recent reports by the Energy department’s Defense Nuclear Facility Safety Board, a potentially explosive compound formed from a combination of bathroom cleaners and plutonium vapors has shut down two processing areas inside Los Alamos National Laboratory’s Plutonium Facility-4 (PF-4). This threat has stopped plutonium processing in the nation’s only facility for production of plutonium “triggers” for nuclear weapons since mid-July.
In other words, toilet room fumes have interacted with plutonium vapors in a common vent system to form an ammonium-nitrate compound — the same type of explosive used in the Oklahoma City bombing. For years, personnel were finding this dangerous white powder on filters, without bothering to know what it was.
So much for the expertise of Los Alamos where billions of dollars are spent each year to better understand nuclear explosives.