Here’s something else to worry about.
It seems the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission has become a bit concerned about the security or, at least the location of, hundreds of thousands of glow-in-the-dark exit signs that are being used throughout the country.
This week, the NRC sent a notice to 61 corporations and organizations possessing 500 or more of the signs � ranging from Boeing to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Salt Lake City to Wal-Mart stores. They were asked to determine where their exit signs are and to report any that are lost or missing to the government.
The signs contain the radioactive gas tritium and are visible if the power fails in variety of public and private office buildings, theaters, stores, schools and churches � anywhere the public needs to get out quickly.
The nuclear cops say, “Tritium EXIT signs pose little or no threat to public health and safety and do not constitute a security risk.” But the feds added that proper handling and recordkeeping are important, because a damaged or broken sign could cause mild radioactive contamination of the immediate vicinity, requiring a potentially expensive clean up.
The NRC’s action follows officials of Wal-Mart stores admitting that a year-long audit by the corporation found that about 15,000 tritium exit signs of the 70,000 Wal-Mart had purchased over the years were lost, missing or otherwise unaccounted for.
Knowing that you’d want to know, I asked Homeland Security how much of a radioactive problem would be created if a bunch of these signs were blown up.
And, of course, and rightly so, a spokesperson in Washington said “You don’t really expect me to answer that do you?”