ADVERTISEMENT
2 /3 FREE ARTICLES LEFT THIS MONTH Remaining
Chemistry matters. Join us to get the news you need.

If you have an ACS member number, please enter it here so we can link this account to your membership. (optional)

ACS values your privacy. By submitting your information, you are gaining access to C&EN and subscribing to our weekly newsletter. We use the information you provide to make your reading experience better, and we will never sell your data to third party members.

ENJOY UNLIMITED ACCES TO C&EN

Environment

Plan For Plutonium Disposal Panned

by Jessica Morrison
January 18, 2016 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 94, ISSUE 3

[+]Enlarge
Credit: DOE
Tons of plutonium from dismantled nuclear weapons could end up at WIPP.
Credit: DOE
Tons of plutonium from dismantled nuclear weapons could end up at WIPP.

Although the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) in New Mexico is still shuttered from a radiation leak in February 2014, the Department of Energy is considering a recommendation to bury 34 metric tons of plutonium from dismantled nuclear weapons there. But a top U.S. nuclear scientist and policy expert and his colleagues areurging DOE to reconsider (Nature 2016, DOI: 10.1038/529149a). Rodney C. Ewing of Stanford University and collaborators question the safety record of WIPP and suggest that DOE consider “how difficult it is to predict potential failures of such a disposal system over millennia” before moving forward with disposal at the facility. An agreement between the U.S. and Russia calls for each country to dispose of excess weapons-grade plutonium from their respective nuclear weapon programs. Until last year, DOE was expected to move forward with a plan to convert the plutonium into mixed oxide fuel that can be used in reactors. But a task force commissioned by Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz in June 2015 recommended disposal at WIPP as a cost-saving alternative.

X

Article:

This article has been sent to the following recipient:

Leave A Comment

*Required to comment