Publication Laka-library:
The Unbearable Risk: Proliferation, terrorist threats and the plutonium industry

AuthorEFA, WISE Paris
DateJune 2003

From the publication:


                                    THE UNBEARABLE RISK
         Proliferation, terrorist threats and the plutonium industry
                                   Yves MARIGNAC1, Xavier COEYTAUX2
                                                  June 2003

The necessary immobilization of plutonium surplus from military stocks in USA and Russia should
be developed in the most secure way. The interests of the European plutonium industry, hit by a
severe crisis and in search of perspectives for the long term, converge with those of the two
countries to propose a single strategy. It focuses on the utilization of the plutonium in MOX fuel in
commercial reactors, rejecting more direct and cost-effective options of disposition of the plutonium
as waste.
The European Union, and some of the Member States through the G8, are pressed to contribute the
implementation and funding of this programme. This needs to be challenged in view of its real
achievements for global security.
The 9/11 events and their consequences on international relations have made the problems of
proliferation and terrorist threats even more serious than they were before. The management of
plutonium stocks through the proposed MOX strategy, as compared to more direct alternatives for
immobilization, results in longer delays; it increases the quantities of separate nuclear material in
storage and the number of transports of highly dangerous material. Furthermore, the so-called
MOX-option is a decisive support to the construction, development, and survival of a civilian
plutonium industry respectively in the United States, Russia and the European Union.
The proposed MOX strategy for the management of plutonium, as compared to alternatives of direct
immobilization, is an unbearable risk for the safety and security of Europe and the World.

  Director, 2 Research Associate, WISE-Paris. Created in 1983, WISE-Paris is an independant agency providing
information, studies an