[ RadSafe ] FW: Nuclear Fuel Recycling

John R Johnson idias at interchange.ubc.ca
Thu Jul 9 17:40:32 CDT 2009


I agree. There is not a necessary relationship between recyling and nuclear 
weapons. Canada's thorium reclying plans ( at least in the '80s) used this 
to justify the use of the thorium fuel cycle, as did the UK when I worked at 
Winfirth in 1973-1974.

John R Johnson, PhD
4535 West 9th Ave
Vancouver, B. C.
V6R 2E2, Canada
idias at interchange.ubc.ca

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Mercado, Don" <don.mercado at lmco.com>
To: "'radsafe'" <radsafe at radlab.nl>
Sent: Thursday, July 09, 2009 3:11 PM
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)
> Editorial
> Nature 460, 152 (9 July 2009) | doi:10.1038/460152b; Published online 8 
> July 2009
> Adieu to nuclear recycling
> Top of 
> page<http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v460/n7252/full/460152b.html#top#top>
> Abstract
> 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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