November 18, 2005- Markey Outraged at Missing Radioactive Material

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representative Edward J. Markey (D-MA) emphasized his concern today over alarming news that a 20-gallon drum holding radioactive material was mistakenly transported to JFK Airport to a post office in New Jersey. According to news reports, “the package contained enough cesium 137 to contaminate several city blocks, potentially causing cancer and radiation sickness.” 

“Federal express can track a pair of shoes more closely than we track these dangerous nuclear materials,” said Rep. Markey.  “Materials like cesium can be used in a nuclear dirty bomb – we are carelessly waiting for Al Qaeda to exploit this loophole.”

The package was transported from Germany to Iceland and then to JFK Airport aboard Iceland Air for a Massachusetts company based in Burlington, QSA Technology. The package, which was clearly labeled “radioactive,” was ultimately identified by a New Jersey postal worker and customs authorities were alerted.

Rep. Markey has authored the Dirty Bomb Prevention Act which would require the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to increase controls over the import, export and domestic sales of materials that could be used to construct a dirty bomb.

For more information regarding the Rep. Markey’s work in the area of nuclear materials security, please see www.house.gov/markey.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 19, 2005

 CONTACT: Tara McGuinness
202.225.2836