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March 10, 2008 / Mridul

Indequate security for huge shipment of weapons grade nuclear fuel

The shipment – expected to be the first of a series – arises from the highly embarrassing failure of a £473m plant at the complex, which was designed to make new nuclear fuel out of mixture of plutonium and uranium oxides recovered from used fuel.

But Core, a Cumbrian campaign group which monitors transport of nuclear material from the complex, said that shipments will start in “the next few days” and will involve hundreds of kilograms of plutonium, enough to make “a large number” of bombs.

‘Dirty bomb’ threat as UK ships plutonium to France – The Independent

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In a yet another failure of sorts coming from Britain’s nuclear power sector, the Sellafield nuclear complex will be transporting “hundreds of kilograms of weapons grade” plutonium to France. With such a critical cargo on board it is surprising to see that the company isn’t taking the required security measures.

It is worthwhile noting that the Cassini spacecraft launched in 1997 carried on board 33 kgs of plutonium dioxide which apparently was enough to destroy a city as big as New York. With the world fast moving to wards alternate sources of energy and the private sector looking to take advantage of governments’ inability to spend large amounts of money on still-quite-expensive energy sources, proper monitoring of the nuclear materials becomes imperative. The private sector needs to share the responsibility of the security of these materials.

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