Nuclear Security

Grantees in this story

On the third anniversary of the Fukushima nuclear disaster, an investigation by Carnegie Corporation grantee, the Center for Public Integrity (CPI), examines the origins and purpose of a controversial $22 billion plutonium production plant that Japan will finish constructing in October 2014. Read an excerpt from the four-part series in Foreign Policy, or view the entire series.

The Center, an investigative newsroom based in Washington, D.C., found that other nations are operating or building plants to make plutonium, but Japan’s is the first to be finished in a non-nuclear weapons state, and some experts say it sets a dangerous precedent.

According to CPI, Japan says it needs the material to fuel new nuclear reactors, but no such reactors exist in the country at this time. The reporters learned that once the Rokkasho plant is operating, it will produce enough plutonium in a year to build 2,600 nuclear bombs. As a result, CPI reports that many experts inside and outside Japan fear the factory could create a tempting target for terror groups.

The CPI series, months in the making, is the second major part of the Center’s continuing investigation–with Carnegie Corporation’s support–into the world’s faltering efforts to control dangerous nuclear explosives.