Bush wants foreign nuclear waste

Jan. 26, 2006 at 10:01 AM

WASHINGTON, Jan. 26 (UPI) -- The Bush administration wants to import nuclear waste from other countries to reprocess and keep out of the hands of terrorists, The Washington Post reports.

Advocates, such as Senate Energy Committee Chairman Pete Domenici, R-N.M., use the word "recycling" to describe an advanced form of reprocessing that, instead of separating plutonium that can be used in bombs from spent fuel, would produce a mixed-oxide fuel too radioactive for terrorists to handle, calling it "proliferation-resistant."

Such fuel could be used in special reactors that exist in France but not in the United States, the newspaper said.

Edwin Lyman, a scientist with the Union of Concerned Scientists, a non-profit think tank that studies environmental and security issues, said he had doubts about the plan.

"We think they are putting a fig leaf on it by calling it proliferation-resistant and saying that it's not really reprocessing, so concerns about proliferation risks won't be valid," he said. "But if we develop something that we call proliferation-resistant and it really isn't, then other countries are going to claim rights to this technology. If it's really proliferation-resistant, would we let Iran have it?"

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