Nuclear Control Institute Calls on Nuclear Industry to Abandon Use Of Plutonium, Highly Enriched Uranium

Use of enriched materials leading to uncontrollable proliferation of nuclear weapons.

Published: 09-Apr-2001

WASHINGTON, April 9 /PRNewswire/ -- The Nuclear Control Institute today called on the nuclear industry to either abandon the use of plutonium and highly enriched uranium or be prepared to phase out nuclear power altogether.

Speaking at NCI's 20th anniversary conference at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, NCI President Paul Leventhal said: "There may be an irreducible proliferation risk associated with nuclear power, a risk serious enough to consider abandoning our commitment to nuclear power."

Leventhal said: "If the nuclear industry refuses to end its love affair with plutonium, then the world may well be better off without nuclear power, and should look to alternative sources of energy and to energy conservation and efficiency measures. There is an abundance of cheap, non-weapons usable uranium available, so plutonium and highly enriched uranium are unnecessary," Leventhal said.

Leventhal said that NCI's opposition to civilian use of plutonium and highly enriched uranium does not mean that the organization is anti-nuclear. "We have worked for 20 years to de-link nuclear power and nuclear weapons by questioning the use of plutonium produced in nuclear power reactors and by seeking a halt in commerce in plutonium as well as bomb-grade uranium. The issue is more critical today than at any time in the past 20 years."

NCI convened today's conference -- "Nuclear Power and the Spread of Nuclear Weapons" -- to underscore the connection that exists between nuclear power and the proliferation of nuclear weapons. The conference took place amid growing concerns over the nation's electricity-supply shortages, the threat of global warming and the threat of nuclear proliferation. Some have argued that nuclear power provides an answer to the perceived energy crisis and the threat of global warning. NCI's Leventhal took strong exception to this argument.

Among those addressing today's conference were U.S. Rep. Edward Markey (D-MA); former U.S. Energy Secretary Hazel O'Leary; Ambassador Robert Gallucci, Dean of the Georgetown School of Foreign Service and diplomatic troubleshooter on North Korean, Iraqi and Iranian nuclear weapons issues; Richard Rhodes, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of "The Making of the Atomic Bomb;" and Amory Lovins of the Rocky Mountain Institute, advocate for the "soft energy" path energy of conservation and energy efficiency rather than nuclear power. Today's full conference program is available at www.nci.org/conference.htm .

About the Nuclear Control Institute

Founded in 1981, the Nuclear Control Institute (NCI) is an independent research and advocacy center specializing in problems of nuclear proliferation. Non-partisan and non-profit, NCI monitors nuclear activities worldwide and pursues strategies to halt the spread and reverse the growth of nuclear weapons. NCI focuses in particular on the urgency of eliminating atom-bomb materials -- plutonium and highly enriched uranium -- from civilian nuclear power and research programs. Further information about NCI is available on the organization's Web site, www.nci.org .

SOURCE Nuclear Control Institute

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