New York Times - "Japan’s Nuclear Mistake" plutonium recycling program sets a terrible precedent

This year has seen a lot of concern about the confrontation between China and Japan over a group of islets in the East China Sea. Less attention, though, is being paid to what may be a more destabilizing development: next year Japan plans to bring its long-delayed Rokkasho reprocessing plant online, which could extract as much as eight tons of weapons-usable plutonium from spent reactor fuel a year, enough for nearly 1,000 warheads. That would add to Japan’s existing stockpile of 44 tons, 9 of which are stored in domestic facilities.

“Japan’s Nuclear Mistake,” an op ed by Carnegie Corporation grantee Frank N. Von Hippel argues that Japan’s plutonium recycling program sets a terrible precedent and creates a tempting target for terrorists.

Read the New York Times op ed.

Carnegie Corporation’s grant to Von Hippel, a Professor of Public and International Affairs at the Woodrow Wilson School, Princeton University, supports his work at Princeton’s Program on Science and Global Security, one of the leading research institutes focused on the technical dimensions of nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament.