Border States News correspondent Courtney Kube sat down with border security expert Roger Clegg to get the latest on the frantic search for the rarest uranium, Cobalt 68, and what we can expect on that search.
Cobalt 68 is worth $7 billion and is said to be hidden at a 50,000-acre federal wildlife refuge in South Dakota.
Related Image Expand / Contract President Trump’s border wall is pegged to contain, or at least contain, parts of this particular radioactive metal. (SCN)
Clegg says this search was a reverse federal antinuclear crusade in the 1970s, where scientists and private citizens searched for the rare isotope since it belonged to the U.S. government. But right now, he says, the Department of Energy (DOE) is looking for the isotope because it is needed for new reactors in New York City.
Not only is it rare, it is particularly deadly. It emits a gamma ray. When it hits the body, Clegg says it permanently destroys muscle tissue, some blood vessels, even occurs in the lungs. He says even when this isotope is not stored, it just sits there for decades, where it doesn’t look like a problem.
Clegg says if this isotope is not found, it is possible that part of the border wall proposed in the U.S. is contaminated by it. A Department of Defense study from the 1980s indicated the border wall already may contain Cobalt 68.
Clegg says the border wall is only one potential problem. He also thinks the border wall will come down as a result of an upcoming border treaty with Mexico, which would end mandatory tamper-proof triggers and improve intelligence sharing between U.S. and Mexican law enforcement.
Clegg says the hope is that the treaty will stem the flow of illegal immigrants into the U.S. from Mexico.
Editor’s Note: This is an excerpt from the exchange with border security expert Roger Clegg, which was posted Friday night on the border security and border wall channel of BRTV.
Keep reading in the links below for the full discussion with Roger Clegg, as well as a video of earlier exchange between BRTV’s Courtney Kube and Roger Clegg.
Courtney Kube: You don’t know the status of these allegations, but what we do know is that not only has no one been found with the radioactive isotope, but, in fact, there are fears that it may be in the border wall.
Roger Clegg: Well, we do have some border crosses and I know that state agents certainly are concerned about this because the thought is that, you know, if it is in the wall, it’s not necessarily going to be taken out and X-rayed and scanned. Instead, it will be left here for ages. When I gave a presentation several years ago at a Border County breakfast, where many individuals come from remote areas, they always have questions as to where radioactive rocks go. I had told them that anything that gets anywhere near the country in bad shape, somebody is going to find it. And, of course, I left that assembly thinking that I was as wrong as I had ever been.
Kube: But the border is so porous, as you know and there’s so many border roads, just I don’t understand what could be living in this desert for these many years and leaving it alone, not going to take precautions.
Clegg: Well, first of all, many of these border areas are heavily trafficked and are used by illegal aliens. But a larger problem is drug trafficking, which you’ve cited. Drug trafficking is the No. 1 concern of border security. It could come through smuggling tunnels. It could come through big trains. It could come through NAFTA. It could come through a weak border. Some of these border groups will just do whatever it takes to get drugs.