This installment of a nuclear news feature includes stories about missing uranium sent aboard as part of the Atoms for Peace program and plans to restart the Indian Point nuclear reactor.
When the Atoms for Peace program started, missing uranium probably wasn't part of the plan. But 30% of it is unaccounted for.
Illustration by Fotolia/appler
Despite objections from environmentalists and local residents, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has voted to restart the Indian Point nuclear power plant, which is located 35 miles north of New York City on the Hudson River. Some experts have termed the site an "insane" place to locate a reactor, because of the difficulty of planning emergency evacuation procedures for the thickly populated area. Though the first disaster drills weren't held until March, the plant was given the green light to start up by the head of the NRC, who said, "It is very unlikely that a serious accident will occur in the next few months." With a cool head like that in charge, what are we worried about?
Since the beginning of the Atoms for Peace program in 1954, some 43 countries have received shipments of highly enriched uranium from the U.S. Unfortunately, the agencies responsible for monitoring the export of the nuclear fuel have no clear records of what has become of it; the General Accounting Office reports that only 70% has been shipped back to the U.S. Would an international "lost and found" listing help?