Climate & Energy Blog

Washington State Utility Contemplating Use of Same Dangerous Plutonium Fuel that Threatens Japan

Posted Mar. 14, 2011 / Posted by: Kelly Trout

For Immediate Release
March 14, 2011

Contact:
Tom Clements, tomclements329@cs.com, 803-834-3084
Kelly Trout, ktrout@foe.org, 202-222-0722

Washington State Utility Contemplating Use of Same Dangerous Plutonium Fuel that Threatens Japan

Risky Plutonium Mixed Oxide (MOX) Fuel Being Used in Fukushima Daiichi Reactor Three Could Come to Washington State

Fukushima Daiichi reactor number 3 – one of the reactors in Japan that has suffered a partial meltdown and that remains endangered – is using an unusual, highly volatile form of reactor fuel that is not yet used in the U.S. but that has been proposed for use at the Columbia Generating Station near Richland, Washington.

Department of Energy documents released to Friends of the Earth reveal that public utility Energy Northwest hopes to bring the experimental mixed oxide plutonium fuel (MOX) into Washington State for use in risky tests in a nuclear reactor not originally designed for that purpose.  The documents also reveal that the utility has sought to keep information secret the about its controversial and risky pursuit of use of surplus weapons plutonium as nuclear reactor fuel.

“It would be dangerous and risky for Energy Northwest to use this volatile plutonium fuel,” said Tom Clements, a nuclear expert with Friends of the Earth. “Weapons plutonium should not be used as fuel in Washington State’s Columbia Generating Station or any other reactor.”

For more information, see this February 3 Friends of the Earth news release about government documents related to Energy Northwest’s use of MOX fuel: http://foe.org/news/archives/2011-02-secret-plan-exposed-to-use-surplus-weapons-plutonium

MEDIA CONTACT: Tom Clements, tomclements329@cs.com, 803-834-3084 or Kelly Trout, 202-222-0722, ktrout@foe.org.

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