Trudeau's multi-million dollar nuclear deal called out by no

Trudeau's multi-million dollar nuclear deal called out by no

Postby Oscar » Sat Aug 14, 2021 4:44 pm

Trudeau's multi-million dollar nuclear deal called out by non-proliferation experts

[ ... on-experts ]

Scientists fear that the technology used to extract plutonium from spent fuel could be used to make nuclear bombs

By Diane Francis Aug 12, 2021

(Ottawa has approved and subsidized a project in which a small reactor is run off "recycled" nuclear waste from New Brunswick’s closed Point Lepreau plant. Photo by Getty Images - no photo)

In May, the Geneva-based International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) called out Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government over a deal he has approved and funded that critics say will undermine the goal of nuclear non-proliferation, according to an article published in the Hill Times and recently republished in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. [ ... n-partner/ ]

The article describes how prominent scientists are concerned about the Government of Canada approving a project, and subsidizing it to the tune of $50.5 million, that’s being developed by a startup called Moltex Energy.

Moltex Energy was selected by NB Power and the Government of New Brunswick to develop its new reactor technology and locate it at the Point Lepreau nuclear plant site by the early 2030s. Moltex is one of several companies that are promoting small, “next generation” nuclear reactors to replace fossil fuels in the production of electricity.

Moltex, a privately owned company that is based in the United Kingdom and has offices in Saint John, N.B., says it will “recycle nuclear waste” from New Brunswick’s closed Point Lepreau nuclear plant for use in its small-scale nuclear reactor. Federal funding and approval was announced on March 18 by Dominic LeBlanc, a New Brunswick MP who serves as minister of intergovernmental affairs.

The scientists dispute the claim that this is “recycling” and are concerned because the technology Moltex wants to use to extract plutonium, a key ingredient in nuclear weapons, from spent fuel could be used by other countries to make nuclear bombs. Decades ago, the U.S. and many of its allies, including Canada, took action to prevent this type of reprocessing from taking place.

“The idea is to use the plutonium as fuel for a new nuclear reactor, still in the design stage. If the project is successful, the entire package could be replicated and sold to other countries if the Government of Canada approves the sale,” reads the article.

On May 25, nine high-level American non-proliferation experts sent an open letter to Trudeau expressing concern that by “backing spent-fuel reprocessing and plutonium extraction, the Government of Canada will undermine the global nuclear weapons non-proliferation regime that Canada has done so much to strengthen.”

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