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Missing At Los Alamos
What's $12 million between friends?
In a recent article from the Albuquerque Journal, Tamar
Stieber says: "A pittance, if the friends happen to be the
U.S. Department of Energy and Los Alamos National Laboratory.
"The laboratory, part of the DOE's national nuclear weapons
complex, acknowledges it has lost track of about $12 million
worth of property_mostly scientific equipment but also things
like computers, copiers and electronic components.
"Officials say most of the missing equipment is somewhere on
lab property_43 square miles of it_they're just not sure
where. And the lab's own "wall-to-wall" inventory still hasn't
solved the mystery.
"They also point out that compared to the lab's $1 billion
inventory, the missing equipment is statistically
OH, THAT $32 BILLION AMPLIFIER!
Cooleemee, North Carolina.
"Roger Spillman paid $75 for what he thought was a radio
amplifier at a salvage auction. He never got it to work and
never got a refund.
"There may be some consolation in knowing the device would
have survived a nuclear blast, however.
"Turns out the device is a $363,735 piece of military
hardware, part of a planned global communications system
designed to survive nuclear war, according the Winston-Salem
Journal in a January 1994 article.
"The Air Force showed up with a court order in December and
reclaimed the device. It only learned about the missing
amplifier when Spillman, unable to get it to work with his
radio, turned to a local ham-radio operator, who called the
amplifier's manufacturer, Raytheon Corp., for an instruction
manual. Raytheon employees asked for the serial number, then
called the Air Force.
"Air Force Special Investigations found out that Raytheon sent
two Extremely High Frequency (EHF) Amplifiers to the Milstar
program at McClellan Air Force Base in Sacramento, California
in December 1992.
"Several Air Force officials couldn't explain how such a
sensitive piece of equipment could be missing for nearly a
year, how it ended up in the freight salvage yard or how it
came to be sold.
"The new pale-green amplifier is part of the $32 billion
Milstar system designed to send and receive military messages
throughout the nation's nuclear arsenal even while under
nuclear attack, the paper reported."
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