US nuclear recycling plans raise proliferation risks

US nuclear recycling plans raise proliferation risks


IF YOU can’t innovate, then reinvent the wheel. That seems to be the thinking behind the US Department of Energy’s (DoE) plans for a nuclear fuel reprocessing programme – but this tactic may play into the hands of weapons-makers. The idea of reprocessing spent nuclear fuel had been anathema to US policy-makers for decades because of the fear that plutonium could end up in weapons. Then in 2006, the DoE announced plans to build a plant to test reprocessing technology that would both significantly reduce the amount of nuclear waste and keep the plutonium mixed in with other radioactive materials. Critics,
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