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NCJ Number: 63532 Add to Shopping cart Find in a Library
Title: PLUTONIUM CONNECTION
Journal: CONGRESSIONAL RECORD  Volume:121  Issue:39  Dated:(MARCH 11, 1975)  Pages:S3617-S3622
Author(s): A RIBICOFF
Corporate Author: US Congress
United States of America
Date Published: 1975
Page Count: 6
Sponsoring Agency: US Congress
Washington, DC
Type: Legislative/Regulatory Material
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: A SPEECH BY SENATOR RIBICOFF ON THE PROBLEMS OF SAFEGUARDING THE WEAPONS-GRADE PLUTONIUM PRODUCED BY NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS INDICATES THE NEED FOR INTERNATIONAL CONTROLS OVER RADIOACTIVE MATERIALS.
Abstract: PROMPTED BY THE BROADCAST OF A 'NOVA' TELEVISION EPISODE WHICH CONCERNED THE HAZARDS POSED BY THE PROLIFERATION OF PLUTONIUM, CONGRESSMAN RIBICOFF INFORMED THE CONGRESS THAT THE PLUTONIUM FUEL WHICH IS REPROCESSED FOR SUBSEQUENT USE IN POWER PLANTS HAS THE POTENTIAL FOR CLANDESTINE USE IN ATOMIC WEAPONS. BY THE MID-1980'S, COMMERCIAL NUCLEAR FACILITIES WILL BE GENERATING MORE PLUTONIUM EACH YEAR THAN THE WORLD'S MILITARY REACTORS USE FOR WEAPONS PRODUCTION. IN EVALUATING THE OPTION TO USE NUCLEAR ENERGY FOR POWER, AMERICANS SHOULD CONSIDER THE RISK THAT NUCLEAR BLACKMAIL AND DESTRUCTION COULD OCCUR IF TERRORISTS OR OTHER CRIMINALS OBTAINED PLUTONIUM. EXPERIMENTS HAVE INDICATED THAT RELATIVELY UNTRAINED, COLLEGE-LEVEL PERSONS COULD CONSTRUCT WEAPONS FROM DIVERTED RADIOACTIVE MATERIAL USING PUBLICLY AVAILABLE DOCUMENTS ON NUCLEAR SCIENCE. THE MOST IMMEDIATE PROBLEM FACING POLICYMAKERS IS WHETHER TO START PLUTONIUM RECYCLING BEFORE SAFEGUARDS AGAINST THEFT AND DIVERSION ARE MADE MUCH STRONGER. THE NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION HAS REQUESTED DELAYING PLUTONIUM RECYCLING UNTIL SAFEGUARDS STUDIES ARE COMPLETED. HOWEVER, RECYCLING ALREADY OCCURS IN FOREIGN COUNTRIES. THEREFORE, INTERNATIONAL CONTROLS MUST BE TIGHTENED TO RESTRAIN THE PROLIFERATION OF REPROCESSING PLANTS AND PLUTONIUM. THE TRANSCRIPT OF THE 'NOVA' EPISODE, PRINTED IN THE CONGRESSIONAL RECORD, QUOTES SEVERAL EXPERTS IN THE NUCLEAR SCIENCE FIELD WHO INDICATE THE DIFFICULTY IN ACCOUNTING FOR INDUSTRIAL NUCLEAR MATERIAL. NO REFERENCES ARE PROVIDED. (TWK)
Index Term(s): Counter-terrorism tactics; International cooperation; Nuclear energy; Nuclear facility security; Nuclear terrorism; Radioactive material
Note: PROCEEDINGS AND DEBATES OF THE 94TH CONGRESS, 1ST SESSION
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