“Making A Billion Hindus Glow in the Dark"


As a mother, I am telling you
Valued Senior Member
This is an extremely interesting and scientific story of how the CIA lost 4 pounds of Plutonium in the Hindi Himalayas, when they tried to put a listening device (radio transceiver against the Chinese) on the top of Nanda Devi.


This was back in 1965 and the first expedition got into bad weather, abandoning the RTG, radioisotopic thermal generator. The 4 pounds plutonium was very warm, capable of melting snow and glacier around it, possibly also killing the sherpas later on. A year later the recovery team couldn't find it, and it is anyone's guess if the device eventually made it to the Ganges or not. The CIA didn't give up the plan, they installed a second device that worked for a few months, before, well it got snowed in. Yes, it does snow on the top of the Himalayas...

One of the most interesting articles I read lately...

Oh yes, the title. The CIA was first embarassed, but later the project was reputedly referred to at Langley as "Making a Billion Hindus Glow in the Dark." Of course, it was not the Indians - or the Americans - who bore the brunt of the radiation. The people who were closest to the RTGs for the longest period of time were the Sherpas, the Nepalese villagers whose experience, stamina, and determination have been crucial to every Himalayan assault - including the ridiculous task of pushing a nuclear-power transceiver to a mountaintop.