46 tons of Plutonium

December 11, 2006 12:00 AM

The governments are working hard to hold another six-party talk on North Korean nukes. Now we know CIA estimates that North Korea has about 50 kilograms of plutonium. But not many people know how much plutonium Japan has.

For your information Japan has about 46 tons, or 46,000 kilograms, of plutonium.

The Japanese Government and the power companies have had the spent fuel reprocessed in UK and France to produce plutonium for years. The original idea was to burn plutonium in the Fast Breeder Reactor (FBR) to generate power and to produce more plutonium. Thirty years ago they said the FBR would be commercially feasible in thirty years. Thirty years have passed since and the Government now says the FBR will not be ready at least not until 2050. So we are stuck with much excess plutonium.

Yet the Government and the power companies have built a new reprocessing plant in Rokkasho in Aomori Prefecture, which can produce eight tons of plutonium a year and the project is costing us about somewhere between 19 trillion yen and 60 trillion yen. It does NOT make a sense!

Nobody, however, questions, or even debates, this project in Rokkasho. It is simply because nobody knows what the hell is going on. Absolutely no media, TV, newspaper or magazine, report this issue because the power companies threaten them if the media did. The power companies are the major sponsors of the news programs on TV. They spend a huge amount of money on ads on newspapers and magazines. The media has been bought and paid for.

I have been approached by the Channel 10, the Yomiuri newspaper and the Shukan Post, a weekly magazine, about this issue. They all received some kind of pressure and gave up reporting this issue.

What are we going to do with this plutonium pool?