[ RadSafe ] FW: Nuclear Fuel Recycling

Dustin G Miller DGMiller at enercon.com
Thu Jul 9 17:36:44 CDT 2009

If nuclear proliferation was such a huge deal with reprocessing, then why
isn't France on the front page headlines for their "reckless endangerment of
the world by nuclear proliferation" because of their successes with spent
fuel reporcessing.

Dustin Miller

-----Original Message-----
From: radsafe-bounces at radlab.nl [mailto:radsafe-bounces at radlab.nl] On Behalf
Of Mercado, Don
Sent: Thursday, July 09, 2009 3:12 PM
To: 'radsafe'
Subject: [ RadSafe ] FW: Nuclear Fuel Recycling

So much for transparency regardless of what political camp one is in.
Apparently 'reprocessing' is not considered as one of the 3 R's (recycle,
reduce, reuse)


Nature 460, 152 (9 July 2009) | doi:10.1038/460152b; Published online 8 July

Adieu to nuclear recycling
Top of

President Barack Obama should be applauded for his decision to scrap
commercial reprocessing.

This week, US President Barack Obama has been grabbing headlines with his
efforts to revitalize the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty - a US/Russian
agreement to reduce the nuclear arsenals of both nations.

Such efforts will be applauded worldwide, but another decision by the Obama
administration deserves equal acclaim. On 29 June, the president quietly
cancelled a lengthy environmental review that was the first step in allowing
the resumption of commercial nuclear reprocessing in the United States.
Nuclear reprocessing chemically separates uranium and plutonium from spent
nuclear fuel so that it can be reused in specialized reactors. The same
technique can be used to purify material for nuclear weapons, and it is
partly for that reason that the United States decided to halt reprocessing
in the 1970s.

Obama's predecessor, George W. Bush, sought to reverse that decision. He
thought that reprocessing could be part of a broader approach that would see
used fuel from non-nuclear-weapons states brought to the United States for
reprocessing. As part of the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership programme,
Bush advocated the construction of a demonstration commercial reprocessing
plant, and an environmental review was already under way when Obama came
into office.

Such a plant, had the plans been allowed to continue, would have been both
costly and counterproductive. Proliferation worries aside, reprocessing is
complex, expensive and creates a liquefied stream of highly radioactive
waste that is difficult to dispose of. The technology is likely to be needed
within the next two decades, so Obama is right in his decision to allow
research into ways to improve reprocessing, while constraining the programme
to one of basic science.

The decision to halt commercial nuclear recycling sends a clear message that
the United States is committed to nuclear non-proliferation. Such decisions,
together with diplomacy such as that taking place in Russia, are deliberate
and encouraging first steps towards building an international consensus on
reducing the threat from nuclear weapons.

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