The problem of proliferation is not simply with
the breeder programmes. There are two other key routes.
Firstly, the reactor grade uranium for fuel rods
is produced using enrichment technology, increasing the levels
of Uranium (U)235 compared to U238. This technology can also beused,
if the uranium is fed back through the very same equipment, to
produce bomb-grade highly enriched uranium. No plutonium is needed.
This is the key problem behind the dispute with Iran.
Second, the waste from conventional reactors includes
both uranium and plutonium. The plutonium can be recovered using
reprocessing (chemical) technologies, whcih can then either be
used to create MOX (mixed oxide, plutonium and uranium) fuel for
burning in conventional reactors... or to create weapons grade
Nuclear power and nuclear weapons technology are inextricably
linked. The non-proliferation regime (realised by the Nuclear
Non-Proliferation Treaty) depended upon trust that no longer exists.
So we have to find alternatives to nuclear power if we are to
prevent proliferation, and this will only be seen as an honest
position if the UK abandons reprocessing, enrichment and the nuclear
fuel cycle ourselves.
- Paul Ingrams, Defence and Security adviser to the Green Party