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Into the fray: New president of nuclear medicine group vows to advance its national role

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By Roger Snodgrass

The newly installed president of the Society of Nuclear Medicine (SNM) said a recent decision by the Department of Energy to dispose of its inventory of uranium-233 was an issue for the organization and for himself.

“It affects my research personally,” said Robert W. Atcher, a White Rock resident who assumed the office of president Sunday at the society’s annual meeting in New Orleans.

“It’s as if they were mining coal and knew there were diamonds in it, but instead of trying to get the diamonds out, they threw the coal away,” Atcher said in a telephone interview Monday.

The inspector general of the Energy Department came to a similar conclusion in a special report earlier this month.

“Should the Department elect to proceed as planned, it may dispose of a national resource that is irreplaceable,” Inspector General Gregory H. Friedman wrote in a covering memorandum to Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman.

Atcher said the problem arose when custodianship of DOE’s uranium-233 changed into the hands of the department’s Environment Management program.

“They wanted to dispose of it and have it finished,” he said. “But it’s a valuable resource and we would not be happy to have that material go away.”


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