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[OPIRG-EVENTS] Intl NIX MOX Day of Action Sign on Statement

Dear friends,

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 michele@ieer.org by 
September 26 and copy your message to cnp@web.net.

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 

Thank you,
Kristen Ostling
Campaign for Nuclear Phaseout
e-mail: cnp@web.net
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 
nuclear-capable states.

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
international safeguards.

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.


Pat Ortmeyer
Womens Action for New Directions

Kathy Crandall
Alliance for Nuclear Accountability

Kimberly Roberts
Physicians for Social Responsibility

Michele Boyd
Institute for Energy and Environmental Research

Tom Clements
Nuclear Control Institute

Linda Gunter
Safe Energy Communication Council

Mary Olson

Nuclear Information & Resource Service Southeast
P.O. Box 7586
Asheville, North Carolina  28802
828-251-2060   fax 828-236-3489
nirs.se@mindspring.com      http://www.nirs.org

NIRS National Office
1424 16th St. NW  Suite 404
Washington, DC 20036
202-328-0002  fax 202-462-2183
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