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The need to put a stop to plan for plutonium weapon pits at Savannah River Site

No plutonium pit at SRS,   https://www.augustachronicle.com/opinion/20190220/letter-no-plutonium-pit-at-srs By Cassandra Fralix, Lexington, S.C. With the demise of the MOX fuel plant, good riddance, since there wasn’t a buyer for this dangerous material. There is only one option for the more radioactive plutonium waste, and that is long-term storage.

Long-term for Pu-239 is a half-life of 24,100 years. No one can predict what the state of the country will be in five years, much less 24,000, so who will monitor this dangerous material?

The horrible legacy of plutonium waste is one we are living with because of the development of nuclear weapons and nuclear power. Now, we have the Department of Energy’s plan to use Savannah River Site’s plutonium for nuclear weapons purposes. Plutonium, being radioactive and “pyrophoric,” is very difficult to handle, as the workers at SRS can testify to, and Savannah River Site, a Superfund site, continues a never-ending cleanup.

To return Savannah River Site to a weapons manufacturer is a testament to man’s lack of concern for God’s creation – human and environmental. We have seen the warnings from the increase of cancer rates at Rocky Flats, Colo., a plutonium pit producer – available in the Final Summary Report on the Historical Public Exposures Studies on Rocky Flats – to Fukushima, Japan, where the focus now is on the plutonium plant, so much more toxic than that of most other elements used in nuclear processing.

We must put people over profits and stop this maniacal race to our destruction. Say no to plutonium pit production at SRS!

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February 23, 2019 Posted by | - plutonium, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Deception and mistrust between Nevada and Department of Energy, over secret plutonium shipment


The Indy Explains: How a secret plutonium shipment exacerbated mistrust between Nevada and Department of Energy, The Nevada Independent By Daniel Rothberg 18 Feb 19,  The secretive Nevada plutonium shipment that has spawned angry rhetoric from Nevada politicians has a history that starts with Russia. In 2000, the United States entered into a pact with Russia to set aside excess weapons-grade plutonium for civilian use in nuclear reactors. Congress then passed a law that it would turn the excess 34 metric tons of plutonium into MOX, or mix-oxide fuel, at a newly built facility in South Carolina.

But that statute came with a firm deadline: If the MOX facility was not operational by 2014, the Department of Energy would be required to move one metric ton of plutonium stored at South Carolina’s Savannah River Site, a nuclear facility built in the 1950s, within two years.

After years of cost overruns and technical challenges, the Trump administration scrapped the facility. Meanwhile, the state of South Carolina obtained a court order in 2017 requiring the Department of Energy enforce the deadline and move the metric ton of plutonium by 2020.

Less than one year later, the agency said it moved a half-ton of that plutonium to the Nevada National Security Site. The action came after months of questioning from state officials, and its furtive nature has spurred a lawsuit, driving a deep chasm between the state and the agency.

Four months after South Carolina obtained the court order, Nevada officials heard that the federal government might be sending some of the plutonium to the state, according to court records. From August to November, state officials began asking questions about the potential shipment. But Nevada officials received few assurances from Department of Energy officials.

Beyond a general ‘expectation’ that any plutonium would be removed by approximately 2026-27, [a November 20] letter did not contain any of the requested assurances,” Pam Robinson, the policy director for then-Gov. Brian Sandoval, wrote in a December affidavit.

What Nevada officials didn’t know: the United States had already moved the plutonium.

Who knew what when

That surprising disclosure came months later — on January 30 — when a general counsel for the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) disclosed that the agency had made a half-ton plutonium shipment from South Carolina to the Nevada Test Site prior to November.

Gov. Steve Sisolak responded to the revelation with a heated statement, pledging to continue existing litigation and keep the Department of Energy accountable.I am beyond outraged by this completely unacceptable deception from the U.S. Department of Energy,” he said to the media. “The department led the state of Nevada to believe that they were engaging in good-faith negotiations with us regarding a potential shipment of weapons-grade plutonium, only to reveal that those negotiations were a sham all along.”

Members of the state’s congressional delegation also released fiery responses.

State officials worry that the plutonium shipment to the testing facility, which is about 65 miles outside of Las Vegas and occupies an area the size of Rhode Island, could set a precedent for the federal government to send more nuclear materials to the state.

In court filings, lawyers for Attorney General Aaron Fordalso argued the federal government failed to fully inventory the environmental impacts of the size and type of plutonium being sent to the highly guarded site.

They also view the action as a backdoor move to open Yucca Mountain, the controversial nuclear waste repository that sits in the remote desert about 100 miles outside of Las Vegas.

The NNSA disputes all of these claims. ………

“Plutonium is nasty stuff,” said Allison Macfarlane, a George Washington University science and technology professor who chaired the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission from 2012 to 2014. “But we’ve made so much of it on the weapons side in this country — and the civilian side in other countries — that we really need to manage it very carefully unless we eliminate it.”

With South Carolina’s MOX facility mothballed, the options are more limited…….. https://thenevadaindependent.com/article/indy-explains-how-a-secret-plutonium-shipment-created-mistrust-betw

February 19, 2019 Posted by | - plutonium, OCEANIA, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

Secret shipent of plutonium from South Carolina to Nevada

US secretly shipped plutonium from South Carolina to Nevada,   https://www.apnews.com/bcd700b7826d41bc82af5ab316d155ca  January 31, 2019

RENO, Nev. (AP) — The U.S. Department of Energy revealed on Wednesday that it secretly shipped weapons-grade plutonium from South Carolina to a nuclear security site in Nevada months ago despite the state’s protests.

The Justice Department notified a federal judge in Reno that the government trucked in the radioactive material to store at the site 70 miles (113 kilometers) north of Las Vegas before Nevada first asked a court to block the move in November.

Department lawyers said in a nine-page filing that the previously classified information about the shipment from South Carolina can be disclosed now because enough time has passed to protect national security. They didn’t specify when the one-half metric ton of plutonium was transferred.

Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak said he’s “beyond outraged by this completely unacceptable deception.” He announced at a hastily called news conference in Carson City late Wednesday the state is now seeking another court order to block any more shipments of plutonium as it pursues “any and all legal remedies,” including contempt of court orders against the federal government.

The newly elected Democrat said he’s exploring options for the plutonium that already has arrived and is working with Nevada’s congressional delegation to fight back against the U.S. government’s “reckless disregard” for the safety of Nevadans.

Democratic Sen. Jacky Rosen called the government’s move “deceitful and unethical.” Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, also a Nevada Democrat, said she would demand department officials come to her office on Thursday to explain how they made the “reckless decision” in such “bad faith.”

Democratic Rep. Dina Titus said the Trump administration has repeatedly tried to use Nevada as a dumping ground for nuclear waste. Trump revived a decades-old proposal to store the nation’s nuclear waste at another site outside Las Vegas, Yucca Mountain, after the project was essentially halted under the Obama administration.

Justice Department lawyers said in new court filings Wednesday that no more shipments of weapons-grade plutonium are planned from South Carolina to Nevada. They said they believe Nevada’s lawsuit aimed at blocking the shipments is now moot.

But lawyers for Nevada said late Wednesday that their bid for an emergency injunction is more critical than ever after the Energy Department misled them about the shipments. They say the government has created the “palpable suspicion” that more shipments are coming to Nevada.

Sisolak described the months-long negotiations with Energy Department officials over the plutonium leading up to the new disclosure as a “total sham.”

“They lied to the state of Nevada, misled a federal court, and jeopardized the safety of Nevada’s families and environment,” he said.

U.S. District Judge Miranda Du in Reno already is considering the state’s earlier request to block the Energy Department’s plans — announced in August — to ship a full metric ton of plutonium to Nevada from South Carolina, where a federal judge previously ordered that the plutonium be removed from a Savannah River site by 2020.

Nevada argues the department has failed to adequately study the potential dangers of moving the material that still has the potential to be used to help develop nuclear weapons to an area that is subject to flash floods and earthquakes, and that the state’s lands and groundwater may already be contaminated with radioactive materials.

In January, Du declined to immediately block the plutonium and indicated she wouldn’t rule until February. “I hope the government doesn’t ship plutonium pending a ruling by this court,” she said at the time.

Nevada and the Justice Department filed their latest briefs Wednesday at the request of the judge, who questioned whether the case should go forward. Justice Department lawyers said any additional plutonium removed from South Carolina would not go to Nevada.

Meanwhile, the states of Nevada and South Carolina are continuing to argue over where any legal challenge should be heard. Each said in briefs filed in Reno last week that theirs is the proper venue.

Nevada’s experts testified that the material likely would have to pass directly through Las Vegas on the way to the Nevada National Security Site. They fear an accident could permanently harm an area that is home to 2.2 million residents and hosts more than 40 million tourists a year.

The Energy Department’s plan approved last August called for the full ton of material to be stored at the Nevada nuclear security site and the government’s Pantex Plant in Texas, two facilities that already handle and process plutonium. The department says it would be sent by 2027 to the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico or another unnamed facility.

____

Associated Press writer Ryan Tarinelli contributed to this report from Carson City.

February 2, 2019 Posted by | - plutonium, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

USA Dept of Energy again confirms its plans to use SRS plutonium for nuclear weapons

DOE reaffirms plans to use SRS plutonium for pit production in New Mexico https://www.aikenstandard.com/news/doe-reaffirms-plans-to-use-srs-plutonium-for-pit-production/article_59e7b02a-1291-11e9-bd1e-936df797de19.html, By Colin Demarest cdemarest@aikenstandard.com, Jan 7, 2019 

      The U.S. Department of Energy has again confirmed its plans to use plutonium currently stored at the

Savannah River Site

       for nuclear weapons purposes.

In a document filed Jan. 4 in Nevada district court, the DOE explained 1 metric ton of plutonium — in pit form at SRS — will eventually be sent to Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico where it will be remanufactured into “new pits.”

Doing so will further the National Nuclear Security Administration‘s longterm stockpile work, according to the same court document. Plutonium pits are nuclear weapon cores, often referred to as triggers.

NNSA Chief of Staff William “Ike” White in a Nov. 20 letter, which was made public via other court filings, described the weapons-grade plutonium stored at SRS as “mission-essential” and integral to nation’s defense enterprise.

“This material will ultimately be used for vital national security missions and is not waste,” White wrote, later adding: “We will keep you updated on our progress as the pit production mission moves forward.” White’s letter was sent to Nevada government officials. Before the plutonium is relocated to Los Alamos, the nation’s plutonium science and production center of excellence, it will be staged at either the Nevada National Security Site or the Pantex Plant in Texas, according to the NNSA.

The shipments between Nevada and New Mexico would take place over “a period of years,” according to the Jan. 4 filing.

The DOE is removing 1 metric ton of weapons-grade plutonium from SRS — South Carolina, more broadly — to comply with a Dec. 20, 2017, court order. The plutonium must be out of the state no later than 2020, according to the order, which was issued by U.S. District Court Judge J. Michelle Childs.

The prospective weapons use of the SRS plutonium was first fully documented in an NNSA environmental assessment issued last year.

January 10, 2019 Posted by | - plutonium, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Bill Gates’ dangerous love affair with plutonium

Bill Gates’ nuclear ambitions go beyond mere ideas. He actually possesses financial holdings in one very dangerous situation indeed – a situation that is presently causing residents around St. Louis, Missouri to live under an all-out nuclear nightmare

Bill Gates’ Plutonium Pipe Dream: Convert Mountains of Depleted Uranium at Paducah to Power Earth for Centuries (Pt. 2)  EnviroNews DC News Bureau on March 14, 2016

“………Cunnings: The man considered by many to be supposedly a humanitarian trailblazer when it comes to combatting disease, has a plan to fast-breed the mountainous heaps of depleted uranium at Paducah into plutonium – one of the most dangerous and disease-causing substance on the face of the planet. Then in turn, this plutonium would be used to power what would be the so-called new fourth-generation nuclear power plants. Let’s listen to Gates articulate his plutonium scheme.

Voice of Bill Gates – Excerpt #2: The concept of this so-called “TerraPower reactor” is that you, in the same reactor, you both burn and breed. So, instead of making plutonium and then extracting it, we take uranium – the 99.3 percent that you normally don’t do anything with – we convert that, and we burn it.

[Editor’s Note: Bill Gates is the current Chairman of the Board of TerraPower — a Washington-based nuclear power technology company.]

Cunnings:Now get this, only 60 seconds after Gates acknowledges the tremendous problem of bringing more plutonium into this world, he turns around and makes a joke about it to a crowd filled with university students from nuclear programs – all this, only a few months after the catastrophic triple melt-through at Fukushima Daiichi.

Bill Gates – Excerpt #3: Our flame is taking the normal depleted uranium – the 99.3 percent that’s cheap as heck, and there’s a pile of it sitting in Paducah, Kentucky that’s enough to power the United States for hundreds and hundreds of years. You’re taking that and you are converting it to plutonium (humorously under his breath) – and then you’re burning that.

Cunnings: Oh yes, Mr. Gates seems to have a little love affair going on with plutonium – and the notion is that we need nuclear power to save ourselves from climate change. ……

Bill Gates Excerpt #8: I love nuclear. It does this radiation thing that’s tricky (laughter). But they’re good solutions. You know, it was interesting; recently, in Connecticut this natural gas plant blew up 11 guys. It just blew them up.

Bill Gates Excerpt #8: Murray: But you are personally investing in nuclear?

Gates: Right.

Cunnings: EnviroNews Editor-in-Chief Emerson Urry chatted with the esteemed nuclear industry expert and whistleblower Arnie Gundersen to explore whether Gates’ plan is a good idea or not.

Emerson Urry: Let’s go back to Bill Gates again, [and] the fourth generation nuclear power. I’ve heard him out there speaking about this, and essentially his ambition to, let’s say, convert Paducah, Kentucky [to plutonium]..

……….. the Paducah site is a very expensive cleanup that is going to take 20 or 30 years to decontaminate. You know, it’s like all of these bomb legacy sites – Hanford in Washington State…

Gundersen:   Hanford is going to take 70 years and cost 110 billion dollars to clean up. So, here we are paying over half of a century for the legacy of building bombs for five years in 1940. And so, Paducah is another one of those sites. It was built to enrich uranium. Why did we do that? Because we had a bomb program. And now we’re stuck with these huge costs that are underfunded or unfunded by Congress. That plant is going to sit there for 30 years. It will create a lot of employment for a lot of people knocking it down, but it also is highly radioactive, and it’s got to be done so cautiously, and it’s a really difficult problem.

Cunnings: There’s no known disintegration of plutonium small enough that doesn’t possess the ability to cause cancer. To be clear, there is no safe amount to be exposed to whatsoever.

Plutonium, though a naturally occurring element was virtually non-existent on planet earth before the dawn of the nuclear age. Now, each of the roughly 400 uranium-powered nuclear reactors in the world create approximately 500 pounds of plutonium each year – or enough to create about 100 nuclear warheads each.

…….. Bill Gates’ nuclear ambitions go beyond mere ideas. He actually possesses financial holdings in one very dangerous situation indeed – a situation that is presently causing residents around St. Louis, Missouri to live under an all-out nuclear nightmare……https://www.environews.tv/031416-paducah-bill-gates-nuclear-pipedream-convert-mountains-depleted-uranium-plutonium-power-earth-centuries/

January 8, 2019 Posted by | - plutonium, secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | 1 Comment

U.S. Appeals Court upholds order for Federal Government to remove plutonium from South Carolina

U.S. government ordered to remove deadly nuclear substance from South Carolina, BY EMILY BOHATCH  ebohatch@thestate.com, October 26, 2018

November 17, 2018 Posted by | - plutonium, Legal, USA | Leave a comment

USA’s National Nuclear Security Administration under scrutiny, over plutonium pits

Watchdog groups seek review of plutonium plan http://www.santafenewmexican.com/news/local_news/watchdog-groups-seek-review-of-plutonium-plan/article_52eb4d8b-05bf-5715-9c8f-233132157ca0.html, By Andy Stiny | astiny@sfnewmexican.com, 2 Nov 18

    Three nuclear watchdog groups across the U.S., including Santa Fe-based Nuclear Watch New Mexico, are accusing the National Nuclear Security Administration of creating a plan to increase production of plutonium bomb cores in violation of an environmental law.

The agency has failed to hold a review and public hearings on the plan, as required by the National Environmental Policy Act, the groups say.

Along with NukeWatch, Savannah River Site Watch in South Carolina and Livermore, Calif.-based Tri-Valley CAREs sent an Oct. 31 letter to NNSA Administrator Lisa Gordon-Hagerty, alleging the federal agency “explicitly plans to expand plutonium pit production but has made no visible effort to begin the legally required National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process.”

A spokeswoman for the NNSA said in an email Wednesday that “the pit production mission will be carried out in accordance with all applicable environmental and regulatory requirements.”

Plutonium cores, or “pits,” are the softball-sized components that initiate the detonation of a nuclear weapon. The NNSA announced in May that by 2030, 30 pits a year would be produced at Los Alamos National Laboratory and at least 50 a year at the Savannah River Site in South Carolina.

The watchdog groups’ letter says they are demanding an environmental review and public hearings because the agency has raised its projected production level above the currently sanctioned cap of 20 pits per year and also because it plans to establish pit production at a second site.

“Assuring the public’s ability to meaningfully comment is a key component of legal compliance,” the letter says.  The organizations are asking the NNSA to respond within 30 days.

November 3, 2018 Posted by | - plutonium, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Nuclear weapons proliferation: other countries fear that Japan may use its piles of plutonium for weapons

Japan vows to cut its nuclear hoard but neighbours fear the opposite, Japan has amassed a large stockpile of plutonium and neighbours fear that the country may decide to build more nuclear weapons. By Motoko Rich, 25 Sept  2018 New York Times, More than 30 years ago, when its economy seemed invincible and the Sony Walkman was ubiquitous, Japan decided to build a recycling plant to turn nuclear waste into nuclear fuel.

September 26, 2018 Posted by | - plutonium, Japan | Leave a comment

The global nuclear nightmare of plutonium

REAL PLUTONIUM, Paul Richards shared a link. Nuclear Fuel Cycle Watch South Australia, 21 Sept 18

Global nuclear brotherhood driving weapons proliferation, they still haven’t anywhere to store;

* unspent & spent nuclear fuel, 
* excess radionuclides,
* redundant weapons arming material
* contaminated material and their
* respective short &
* long-term containment systems as canisters, or
* short-term storage, 200-litre drums.

Containers at worst need repacking in

* five years in case of the 200-litre drums, with best practice, every

* hundred years, and that is

* unless sealed five kilometres below

the surface or more, this repacking of nuclear waste containers is ad infinitum ∞ https://www.facebook.com/groups/1021186047913052/?multi_permalinks=2123030991061880%2C2123017674396545%2C2122319811132998&notif_id=1537435582423128&notif_t=group_activity

September 21, 2018 Posted by | - plutonium | 1 Comment

Plutonium a risk to humans and environment for thousands of years

Even if the optimism of the scientists and engineers is well-founded, it will still take almost two more decades for the vitrification plant to run at full bore. So it may be 2047—or later—before the ghosts of plutonium are finally laid to rest.

illustration by Abigail Malate, Staff Illustrator, American Institute of Physics

September 21, 2018 Posted by | - plutonium, Reference, USA | Leave a comment

Nevada vows to fight plan to send plutonium to security site 

by Jeff Gillan , 9 Sept 18, Nevada’s elected officials reacted with alarm Thursday to a Department of Energy proposal to send a ton or more of weapons-grade plutonium to the Nevada National Security Site.

The security site, formerly known as the test site, has seen small amounts of plutonium before but that was for weapons testing.

This proposal, from the Department of Energy, would be the first time, according to Nevada officials, that plutonium would be stored here, potentially indefinitely.I have been made aware that @Energy intends to store plutonium in Nevada with no timeline for removal. I will fight this at every level,” Governor Brian Sandoval, R-Nevada, tweeted.

The plutonium up to a ton would be sent here by 2020 from South Carolina because a facility there has not been finished that would re-purpose the material. Another ton would be scheduled to be sent here in 2021.

“Doe is addressing South Carolina’s concerns by screwing Nevada,” tweets Congresswoman Dina Titus…….

Plutonium, at the security site, is a separate issue [from Yucca nuclear waste dump plan] . However, conservationists see another agenda by sending plutonium here.

“This is about a test run to see what storage and transportation of nuclear material looks like to Nevada,” says Andy Maggi, the Executive Director of the Nevada Conservation League.

State officials reacted to the proposal with alarm.

“Not only does shipping up to one metric ton of plutonium across the country likely present risks to those living along the proposed transportation routes, storing this material just a few miles from #LasVegas could threaten the health and safety of Nevadans and our tourism economy,” tweets Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nevada.

“I have serious concerns with (Department of Energy) Secretary Perry recklessly pushing this proposal forward without properly assessing the impact that transporting and storing up to one metric ton of weapons-grade plutonium would have on Nevadans’ health and safety. I urge DOE to conduct a full environmental analysis,” said Rep. Jacky Rosen, D-Nevada, in a statement.

Yucca Mountain will take years – if ever – to become operational. One worry is also that DOE could reclassify the plutonium as nuclear waste and send it to Yucca when it’s ready.

“That’s not an inconceivable scenario,” says Greg Lovato, the Administrator of Nevada’s Division of Environmental Protection.

In the meantime, Nevada plans to fight plutonium coming here.

“We’re looking at all legal options because we believe that the supplemental analysis issued by the department is insufficient for this type of activity,” says Bradley Crowell. https://news3lv.com/news/local/department-of-energy-introduces-plan-to-store-plutonium-in-nevada

September 10, 2018 Posted by | - plutonium, USA | Leave a comment

Plutonium remains in the ground below proposed Rocky Flats national wildlife refuge

Guardian 22nd Aug 2018 The nation’s newest national wildlife refuge, filled with swaying prairie
grass and home to a herd of elk, is slated to open next month just outside
Colorado’s largest city.

But seven Denver metro area school districts
have already barred school-sanctioned field trips to the preserve. A top
local health official says he would probably never hike there.

And a town is suing over what the soil might contain. “The threat posed by
contamination at Rocky Flats and its effect on visiting children appears to
be an issue of dispute amongst experts,” Lisa Flores, a Denver public
schools board of education member, told the Guardian.

“Until we have definitive assurances of child safety, we will exercise an abundance of
caution.” The 2,119-hectare (5,237-acre) Rocky Flats national wildlife
refuge, due to open this autumn, sits on land surrounding what once was a
nuclear weapons production facility. From 1951 to 1989, the Rocky Flats
Plant manufactured plutonium triggers – grapefruit-size spheres that,
when compressed by explosives, catalyze a nuclear reaction. Though the
area, about 20 miles north-west of Denver, has been cleaned up and declared
safe by the government, plutonium remains in the ground where the facility
once stood.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/aug/22/new-us-refuge-rocky-flats-plutonium-toxic

August 25, 2018 Posted by | - plutonium, environment, USA | Leave a comment

Japan plans to reduce its 47.3 tons of stockpiled plutonium

IPFM 20th Aug 2018 , On 31 July 2018, Japan’s Atomic Energy Commission (JAEC) issued a new
policy paper, The Basic Principles on Japan’s Utilization of Plutonium,
which for the first time, stated that “Japan will reduce the size of its
plutonium stockpile.”
A similar statement was included in the new Strategic
Energy Plan (in Japanese) by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry
(METI) that was adopted on 3 July by the Cabinet of the Japanese
government. Japan’s plutonium stockpile, according to the data released by
the JAEC at the same time as the new policy, is about 47.3 tons of
plutonium (as of the end of 2017), of which 36.7 tons is overseas (21.2
tons in UK and 15.5 tons in France) and 10.5 tons in Japan. The Rokkasho
reprocessing plant, with a design separation capacity of 8 tons of
plutonium per year, on which stated construction in 1993, is currently
planned to be completed in 2021. Plans call for the J-MOX plant to be
completed in 2022 to turn this plutonium into MOX fuel for light water
(LWR) nuclear power reactors.
http://fissilematerials.org/blog/2018/08/japans_new_policy_on_its_.html

August 24, 2018 Posted by | - Fukushima 2011, - plutonium | Leave a comment

Hanford Plutonium Finishing Plant clean-up to be restarted

Daily Mail 27th July 2018 , Work to demolish a former nuclear weapons production factory in Washington
state may resume in September, about six months after it was halted when
workers were exposed to radioactive particles, the U.S. Department oEnergy said Thursday.
The agency will implement extra safety measures for
workers demolishing the Plutonium Finishing Plant on the Hanford Nuclear
Reservation, which is near Richland. The plant was involved in producing
much of the plutonium for the nation’s nuclear arsenal.
Hanford officials
issued a report in late March that said a total of 42 Hanford workers
inhaled or ingested radioactive particles when they were exposed during
contamination events in June and December of last year. Radioactive
contamination was also found outside plant offices and inside two dozen
vehicles, the report said.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/ap/article-5997239/Work-demolish-nuke-weapons-plant-resume-September.html

July 28, 2018 Posted by | - plutonium, USA | Leave a comment

Japan has amassed enough plutonium to make 6,000 nuclear bombs

Economist 25th July 2018 Japan has now amassed 47 tonnes of plutonium, enough to make 6,000 bombs.
What is Japan doing with so much plutonium? Plutonium is at the heart of
Japan’s tarnished dream of energy independence. Spent fuel from nuclear
reactors can be reprocessed to extract plutonium, which is then recycled
into mixed oxide, or MOX, fuel. This was intended for use in Japan’s
reactors but most of its nuclear power plants have been offline since the
2011 Fukushima disaster.

Tougher safety checks have failed to reassure the
nuclear-phobic public that the reactors can be restarted. And Japan’s
nuclear-energy fleet is ageing. Taro Kono, Japan’s foreign minister, has
admitted that this situation is “extremely unstable”.

Japan’s status as a plutonium superpower is increasingly under scrutiny. The government
says it has no intention of building a bomb. But China and other countries
question how long it can be allowed to stockpile plutonium. Analysts worry
about a competitive build-up of plutonium in Asia.

Moreover Japan’s stock, which is weapons-grade, is reprocessed and stored in France and
Britain. It is moved across the world in heavily armed convoys. America
says those shipments and the storage of plutonium in civilian sites present
a potential threat to non-proliferation goals: they could be redirected to
make weapons, or targeted by terrorists. It is nudging its ally to start
reducing the hoard.
https://www.economist.com/the-economist-explains/2018/07/25/why-does-japan-have-so-much-plutonium

July 27, 2018 Posted by | - plutonium, Japan | Leave a comment