FRIENDS OF THE EARTH uncovered secret plans by Washington State's public utility, Energy Northwest, to put MOX plutonium reactor fuel from U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) failing MOX program in the old Columbia Nuclear Generating Station. Washington State already sent its plutonium inventory from Hanford to South Carolina where it is in makeshift storage in the now-defunct K reactor at Savannah River Site (SRS). Although DOE trumpets its taxpayer boondoogle MOX plutonium fuel program, it is simultaneously pursuing plutonium immobilization for dirty plutonium such as the plutonium shipped from Hanford in the glassification program for highly radioactive liquid waste at SRS.
DOE'S MOX plutonium fuel tests have already failed in Duke Power reactors and Duke subsequently chose to quit the MOX program. In public hearings conducted by DOE during the summer of 2010, residents in the Tennessee River Valley stated their vigorous opposition to MOX plutonium fuel in TVA reactors. Public pressure can help Energy Northwest avoid taking the unnecessary MOX risk, too. MOX is a U.S. taxpayer funded program affecting every taxpayer and plutonium transportation affects everyone along the transportation route. So, even if you are not an Energy Northwest customer, you can send a message to the managers of Energy Northwest to retreat from the miserable MOX boondoggle now. There are better ways to make energy, and better ways to dispose of plutonium.
Experts researched and wrote this handy email action letter for YOU to send and make a difference! Tell Energy Northwest (formerly Washington Public Power Supply System, WPPSS) management to keep plutonium out of the Columbia Nuclear Generating Station.
You may edit the letter as you wish or send it as it is. There are many resources and links on nonukesyall.org to help you get more information about plutonium and plutonium disposition options.
Year plutonium was discovered by Glenn Seaborg and others
Minimum amount of plutonium required for bomb
1 kilogram (2.2 pounds)
Amount of plutonium used in Nagasaki bomb
Average amount of plutonium used in modern atom bomb
Estimated amount of U.S. weapons-grade plutonium
85,000 kilograms (93.5 tons)
Estimated amount of Russian weapons-grade plutonium
160,000 kilograms (176 tons)
Hazards associated with plutonium
Radiation, fire, inhalation, ingestion, criticality, reactivity, decay
Length of time that
plutonium 239 (weapons-grade) remains hazardous
(Ten 24,000-year half-lives)
Form of plutonium most hazardous to life
Plutonium oxide powder
What happens to plutonium metal when exposed to air
Gradually turns to
plutonium oxide powder
Lethal amount of plutonium oxide powder (inhaled)
Lethal amount of plutonium oxide powder (ingested)
Amount of sugar substitute in average 1 gram package
Excerpted from Stop Plutonium Fuel: Plutonium Index, compiled by Don Moniak. Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League, www.bredl.org