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Plutonium imports to proceed.

The Canadian government is proceeding with the import of weapons-grade plutonium fuel (MOX) into Canada from the U.S. and Russia, in spite of opposition from the public and a parliamentary committee.

The effort is part of a U.S. nonproliferation project to obtain technical information on CANDU reactors in preparation for burning plutonium from U.S. and Russian warheads in CANDU reactors.

The deal calls for Canada to accept a "small" shipment of nine nuclear fuel rods from the US, containing approximately 120 grams of plutonium, according to a US Department of Energy (DOE) statement. The test burn is a precursor to the possible importation of up to 100 tonnes of weapons plutonium fuel over the next 25 years.

The DOE says that the fuel rods will be shipped by truck from its Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico to a test reactor in Chalk River, Ontario, which is owned by Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. It says elaborate safety measures will be put in place.

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Publication:Natural Life
Date:Nov 1, 1999
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