For many years, Japan has extracted plutonium from spent fuel of nuclear power plants to be reused as fuel. At present, the storage capacity of plutonium is up to 47 tons. According to Kyodo, "it's the equivalent of making 6000 nuclear bombs.". So, how toxic is plutonium? Xiaobian will show you something
Japan's high plutonium stockpile has aroused renewed concern, coincided with the expiration of the 30-year term of the Japan US nuclear energy agreement, which is the basis of Japan's nuclear energy policy, and the automatic extension of this month's 17.
Plutonium is a kind of radioactive material that can be transferred to nuclear weapons. The United States has long allowed Japan to extract plutonium from nuclear power projects, which is based on the Japan US nuclear energy agreement. According to AFP, Japan is the only country in the world to extract plutonium from spent fuel of nuclear power plants without possessing nuclear weapons.
Although Japan has repeatedly announced that it will not use plutonium for military purposes, many voices in Japan have questioned that the Japanese authorities maintain a high inventory of plutonium, perhaps in order to 'keep a later plan'.
Urging inventory reduction
Kyodo News Agency reported that the United States had previously asked Japan to reduce its plutonium inventory. For the first time this month, the Japanese government signalled a deliberate reduction in plutonium stockpiles, according to AFP, but did not publish a detailed road map.
The reprocessing capacity of plutonium in Japan is still limited, so only 10 tons of 47 tons of inventory are processed in Japan, and another 37 tons are sent to the UK and France, AFP reported.
Frank middot von Hippel, a professor of nuclear arms control and policy making at Princeton University in the United States, said: 'the cost of extracting plutonium (from spent fuel) in Japan is very high, which is not cost-effective from an economic and environmental point of view. '
In an interview with Agence France Presse, the former vice chairman of the government's Atomic Energy Commission, Jiro Suzuki, said the Japanese authorities should set a 'clear goal' to reduce plutonium stockpiles and 'at least promise not to increase any more stockpiles'.