Japan making more plutonium despite huge stockpile
TOKYO - The Associated Press
In this March 18, 2006 file photo, Japan Nuclear Fuel Ltd. experimental nuclear fuel reprocessing plant in Rokkasho, northern Japan, is shown. AP PhotoLast year's tsunami crisis left Japan's nuclear future in doubt and its reactors idled, rendering its huge stockpile of plutonium useless for now. So, the nuclear industry's plan to produce even more this year has raised a red flag.
Nuclear industry officials say they hope to start producing a half-ton of plutonium within months, in addition to the more than 35 tons Japan already has stored around the world.
That's even though all of the reactors that might use it are either inoperable or offline while the country rethinks its nuclear policy in light of the tsunami-generated Fukushima crisis.
Princeton University professor Frank von Hippel, a leading authority on non-proliferation issues, says there's no reason to produce more plutonium now, calling the plan "crazy."