News and Facts: Nuclear Industry and Radioactive Science

Archive for the ‘In The News’

Japan Gets Set to Burn Plutonium

June 10, 2009 By: John Category: In The News, Nonproliferation

[From IEEE Spectrum, Energy Wise.]

Two of the largest Japanese utilities, Kyushu Electric Power and Shikoku Electric Power, are preparing to fuel nuclear reactors with rods containing recycled plutonium starting this fall, John Boyd reports from Tokyo. In the middle of last month, two ships arrived from France with loads of mixed-oxide fuel (MOX) containing plutonium that originated in Japanese spent fuels, which Japan is contractually obligated to take back. The MOX consignment from France‚Äôs La Hague reprocessing complex weighed an estimated 1700 kilograms.

The recycling of nuclear fuels has been intensely controversial for decades, mainly because of concerns that fuel containing plutonium could fall into the hands of terrorists. Well before Al Qaeda appeared on the scene and fanatics were killing themselves in bomb attacks, experts worried about the ease with which the plutonium in MOX could be separated from uranium, to provide the explosive material for an atomic bomb. [Would you like to know more?]

LANL Ships RH-TRU Waste to WIPP

June 09, 2009 By: John Category: In The News

In exciting news, Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) announced this past week the first shipments of remote-handled transuranic waste to the WIPP facility in southern New Mexico.

The Laboratory plans to prepare three to four shipments per week until all 16 canisters are gone.

Thanks to shielding and design, a loaded RH-TRU shipping cask meets the same Department of Transportation radiation safety requirements as a typical shipment to WIPP. Stringent handling procedures and satellite surveillance will keep the public safe.

The shipments will follow preapproved transportation routes. As with all shipments to WIPP, these operations will be coordinated with New Mexico law enforcement.

WIPP has conducted more than 7,200 shipments of transuranic waste since opening in 1999, including more than 200 shipments of RH-TRU.

[Read the rest of the story, here…]