Crisis

Nuke Detectors Lack Key Ingredient

The American war on terror has come to a slow halt because of a shortage of helium 3, a crucial ingredient to machines the U.S. is developing to sniff out smuggled nuclear bombs. The machines were intended to be placed in ports around the world to detect plutonium or uranium in shipping containers headed for the U.S. Detectors using helium 3 tend to be more stable, sensitive, and reliable than other technologies. The element is rare in nature, and derives from the decay of tritium, an ingredient of hydrogen bombs. So far, the Energy Department has been extracting helium 3 from a stockpile of nuclear weapons, but a White House spokesperson said that method "was not sustainable." Demand now outstrips supply 10 times over. Though some government agencies anticipated the shortage, it appears the Homeland Security Department didn't get the memo.