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Thursday, 31 May 1984
Page: 2291


Senator WALSH (Minister for Resources and Energy)(9.21) —It was found by the Australian Radiation Laboratory and the departmental survey team which is there now. I understand that it is metallic plutonium. I presume it was put on scales to determine the weight. When I first found out about it yesterday I asked whether in the Press statement I should say that it was a particle believed to be plutonium or whether I should say that it was plutonium. The advice I got was to say that it was plutonium; there was no doubt about that . When analysed one of the things which could be revealed is the grade of the plutonium. There is some reason to believe that the plutonium used in those minor trials was reactor grade plutonium and not weapons grade plutonium. When that speck has been analysed it will provide a significant clue-assuming that it came from the minor trials, and that can be fairly safely assumed-as to whether the plutonium associated with those minor trials was reactor grade or weapons grade.