Tell the Dept. of Energy to stop wasting billions on this nuclear boondoggle
The United States currently faces the daunting task of addressing the deadly weapons-grade plutonium left over from Cold War-era stockpiling.
In a misguided approach, the Department of Energy has begun constructing a factory in South Carolina to reprocess this plutonium into fuel, called mixed oxide or MOX, for nuclear reactors. The MOX facility, still under construction, has now cost nearly $4 billion and could cost billions more before it’s done.
Production and use of plutonium MOX fuel is the wrong approach due to out-of-control costs, and nuclear safety and proliferation risks. Instead, the plutonium, which has a 24,000-year radioactive half-life, must be managed as nuclear waste and disposed of isolated from the environment. Likewise, we should be investing in cleaner, safer energy options such as solar and wind and not experimental MOX fuel.
Now, we have the opportunity to impact the decision-making process and get DOE to terminate MOX and pursue saner, safer and cheaper disposition methods for plutonium. While there are no good answers to the perplexing problem of what to do with one of the world’s most hazardous substances, we have the chance to push the government to develop better policies in dealing with the surplus weapons material.
Please write a letter to the Secretary of Energy, Ernest Moniz, telling him to stop the production of MOX and get moving on an assessment of alternative disposal options of plutonium.