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[OPIRG-EVENTS] Intl NIX MOX Day of Action Sign on Statement
September 28th is International NIX MOX Day--a day of action to
demonstrate global opposition to the use of plutonium fuel (MOX) in
nuclear reactors. Last year 239 organizations signed onto an
international statement opposing plutonium fuel. Please sign on to
this year's "Statement by World Nongovernmental Organizations
Opposing the Use of Plutonium (MOX) Fuel" below. To sign on please
send your name, group's name and address to firstname.lastname@example.org by
September 26 and copy your message to email@example.com.
Please also consider organizing an action such a distributing
information, holding a news conference, street theatre, sending
letters to the editor and to politicians. Let CNP know about your
activities and we will include them in a news release on September
Campaign for Nuclear Phaseout
web site: www.cnp.ca
Statement by World Nongovernmental Organizations Opposing the Use of
Plutonium (MOX) Fuel
We, the undersigned representatives of nongovernmental organizations
around the world, call on the governments of the United States and
Russia to forego the fabrication and use of plutonium (mixed
oxide) fuel as a means to render surplus weapons plutonium unsuitable
and unavailable for reuse in weapons, and demand that they pursue
safer and more proliferation-resistant disposition methods.
We acknowledge that each country's declaration of roughly 50 metric
tons of plutonium as surplus to military needs is a positive step
toward worldwide nuclear disarmament and support the goal of
preventing this plutonium from being diverted, stolen, or reused in weapons.
In an attempt to achieve this goal, the US and Russian governments
have agreed to a plan to convert most of this plutonium into mixed
oxide (MOX) plutonium fuel for use in commercial nuclear power
reactors (mainly light water reactors) in both Russia and the United
States and possibly Canada or other countries. Russia also plans to
use weapons MOX in plutonium breeder reactors, which are capable of
producing more plutonium than they consume (though during the life of
the program they will operate the reactors in such a way as not to
produce more plutonium).
We oppose the MOX plan for the following reasons:
-> It would create a proliferation threat particularly while it is
being transported to or stored at reactor sites, as the plutonium in
fresh MOX fuel can be separated and used for weapons purposes.
-> It would establish a MOX infrastructure, thus encouraging
reprocessing of plutonium-bearing spent fuel both in the US and
Russia. Reprocessing generates vast amounts of high level liquid
radioactive waste and increases stockpiles of separated plutonium.
(Russia has specifically stated that it would reprocess and
re-extract the plutonium at the end of the disposition program.)
-> It raises many unresolved technical and safety questions as
weapons-grade plutonium has never been used as a fuel in commercial
reactors. At minimum, it would complicate safe reactor operation and
increase the consequences of a severe nuclear reactor accident.
-> It is likely to take longer and cost more to dispose of plutonium
using MOX compared to the current alternative, immobilization.
-> It would not prevent plutonium from entering the environment. It
would merely incorporate it into high-level radioactive waste.
-> It would breach the barrier between civil and military nuclear
activities and undermine global nonproliferation efforts.
We believe that immobilization is a far better option for plutonium
disposition. It involves putting plutonium into a non-weapons usable
form by mixing it with other materials and making the
resultant waste form proliferation resistant, that is, resistant to
theft and re-extraction by non-governmental parties or
Under current US-Russian agreements, only the US will pursue
immobilization and just for a portion of its surplus plutonium not
deemed suitable for MOX. At this time, Russia is not planning on
pursuing this option at all, and must be pressed by the international
community to reverse its position.
We believe the full amount of plutonium declared surplus by each
country should be immobilized and that research and development for
immobilization, along with the necessary funding, should be
increased to improve and further develop this technology. In the
period before immobilization technologies are available, all
plutonium should be stored securely and safely and placed under
Further, we believe that any plutonium disposition program must
ensure public access to information including, but not limited to:
adequate notification of decision timelines, information on program
costs, knowledge of operating records of the various actors involved,
detailed data on projected environmental impacts, and reliable data
on safety and health risks. The public in the communities most
directly affected in both countries should have ample opportunity for
meaningful input into the decision-making process, including the
right to intervene legally.
In both countries there should be sound independent oversight of the
program and all aspects of the program should adhere to all relevant
environmental or public process laws.
Therefore, we, as concerned colleagues across the globe who embrace
efforts to reduce nuclear arms and safely dispose of surplus weapons
plutonium, declare International Nix MOX Action Day, September
28, 2000. We pledge to expand a united international movement that
will challenge every effort to develop, encourage, or use MOX fuel as
a means of plutonium disposition, will work toward the goal of
having all plutonium declared surplus, and vow to continue our
efforts to ensure the isolation of plutonium from the environment.
Womens Action for New Directions
Alliance for Nuclear Accountability
Physicians for Social Responsibility
Institute for Energy and Environmental Research
Nuclear Control Institute
Safe Energy Communication Council
Nuclear Information & Resource Service Southeast
P.O. Box 7586
Asheville, North Carolina 28802
828-251-2060 fax 828-236-3489
NIRS National Office
1424 16th St. NW Suite 404
Washington, DC 20036
202-328-0002 fax 202-462-2183
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