One thing people always cite as a drawback of nuclear power is the possibility of the materials falling into the wrong hands. Amazingly, this exact situation already happened in the 1970s, when two drums of enriched uranium were stolen from a power plant in North Carolina.
In 1979, David Learned Dale, a contract employee at the GE power plant in Wilmington, NC, infiltrated a restricted area and managed to wheel out two 5-gallon drums of low-enriched Uranium. Then, he casually placed them in the trunk of his car and drove away. From there, Dale attempted to blackmail the plant for $100,000. He did it by sending the head of the plant a small vial containing some of the nuclear material, along with a letter explaining that if he wasn’t paid he would send similar vials to all the anti-nuclear groups in the country—a move that would be sure to shut the GE plant down for good. It was an audacious plan, and one that might very well have worked. However, instead of paying Dale his hush money, the plant got in touch with the authorities and a special team of investigators known as the Nuclear Emergency Response Team were brought in on the case. After a brief investigation, Dale was eventually found out and apprehended.
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