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Tuesday 2 August
I had a fascinating talk with Robert Alvarez, an American from the Environmental Policy Institute in Washington, who is in Japan. I asked him about the sale of British plutonium to the Untited States. He told me that it started in 1959 and went on until 1979, when it was probably terminated by President Carter. It was a barter agreement under which the United States supplied us with tritium and high-enriched uranium for nuclear-powered Polaris submarines in exchange for plutonium from our Magnox civil nuclear power stations for use in American nuclear weapons.
Alvarez said the Americans wanted the Magnox plutonium because it was purer than that from the PWR. He told me that in 1980 the supply resumed, partly to fend off criticisms of Carter by Reagan on the eve of the presidential election.
From 1966 to 1970 and from 1975 to 1979 I was the Minister responsible for atomic energy, and I had absolutely no knowledge of this. Encouraged by my officials, I used to give talks on the uses of civil nuclear power, while all that time our civil power stations were supplying plutonium for American nuclear weapons. Recently Ross Hesketh of the CEGB made a statement in Britain in which he revealed this story, and he was promptly sacked by Sir Walter Marshall, Chairman of the CEGB which has led to some argument in Britain.
In light of the Ukrainian events numerous articles about the interests of the EU and the USA in Ukraine have emerged. One of these interests, according to some data, may be disposal of nuclear waste on the land that has survived the Chernobyl tragedy. Pravda.Ru tried to figure out whether this information about using Ukraine as a repository for nuclear waste was reliable.
The media reported that the EU and the U.S. were negotiating with the current central government of Ukraine regarding the disposal of nuclear waste in the western territories of the country. According to some reports, Kiev would be paid a considerable sum of money that would help to stabilize the economic situation in the country for the provision of land for the burial of nuclear waste. english.pravda.ru...
Should we push for the encapsulated waste be moved to a central dump or is it better left scattered at the various coastal sites?
The way British politicians are controlled by the unelected permanent government is neatly illustrated by the Secretary of State for Energy, Tony Benn, being encouraged by his 'officials' to give talks on civil nuclear power while being kept in ignorance.
I don't think transport is too much of an issue. Plenty of nuclear material get's moved around without excessive danger.
Concerns have been raised by environmentalists and atomic power experts over the way waste is being stored at Europe’s largest nuclear power station, in crisis-ridden Ukraine.
More than 3,000 spent nuclear fuel rods are kept inside metal casks within towering concrete containers in an open-air yard close to a perimeter fence at Zaporizhia, the Guardian discovered on a recent visit to the plant, which is 124 miles (200km) from the current front line.
“With a war around the corner, it is shocking that the spent fuel rod containers are standing under the open sky, with just a metal gate and some security guards waltzing up and down for protection,” said Patricia Lorenz, a Friends of the Earth nuclear spokeswoman who visited the plant on a fact-finding mission.
“I have never seen anything like it,” she added. “It is unheard of when, in Germany, interim storage operators have been ordered by the court to terror-proof their casks with roofs and reinforced walls.”
I've spent several days considering changing my attitude on the transport of radioactive waste after reading your comments.