World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search


Plutonium shipment exposes U.S. Nuke Hypocrisy

U.S nuclear hypocrisy fuelled by arrival of experimental plutonium shipment

Charleston, South Carolina, 12 April 2005 - A ship containing a cargo of experimental nuclear fuel made from weapons-grade plutonium arrived in the United States today after an 4000 mile round trip to France and back. The cargo, the first of its kind to be brought into the US, was taken from U.S. military plutonium stocks, shipped across the Atlantic to France, where it was meet by a storm of protest, transformed into mixed oxide (MOX) nuclear reactor fuel by the French state company Areva (1) and then returned to the US. The shipment flies in the face of global efforts to curb the nuclear threat.

"While the U.S. warns the world about the risks of proliferation of weapons material, here it is engaged in the very act it condemns. It is pure hypocrisy," said Tom Clements of Greenpeace International.

"All transport and use of plutonium must end if we are to halt the spread of nuclear weapons."
Activists working with Greenpeace monitored the arrival of the UK-flagged Pacific Pintail, which was escorted by U.S. Coast Guard and local police vessels. Six casks containing 140 kilos of nuclear fuel will be off-loaded at the Charleston Naval Weapons Station.

Part of the of the nuclear load will then be transported 1500 miles cross-country for storage at to the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico. The remainder will become part of a three year long nuclear experiment at the Duke Energy's Catawba nuclear reactor near Rock Hill, South Carolina - the first of it's kind for MOX (mixed oxide) fuel made from weapons-grade plutonium (2). The testing is a prelude to the start up of a large-scale plutonium fuel program in the United States. Activists will monitor the MOX transport along the 340-kilometer trip to the Catawba reactor.

Greenpeace wants all plutonium to be treated as nuclear waste not as potential reactor fuel. This approach would be cheaper, faster, safer, and more secure. It also urges a ban on the production of all weapons-usable fissile materials.

Notes to Editor:
(1). In September 2004, 140 kilograms of weapons-grade plutonium oxide (powder) were shipped via Charleston to France for fabrication into commercial nuclear fuel (mixed oxide fuel, MOX) as the US lacks a MOX plant.
(2). Groups working with Greenpeace include Georgians Against Nuclear Energy (GANE), Charleston Peace and the Carolina Peace Resource Centre.

See for background documentation. A photo of the DOE transport truck can be found at: Since September 11, other photos of nuclear transport truck have been eliminated from DOE web sites.

Greenpeace is an independent campaigning organisation that uses non-violent, creative confrontation to expose global environmental problems and to force solutions that are essential to a green and peaceful future.

© Scoop Media

World Headlines


Rohingya Muslims Massacred: Restrictions On Aid Put 1000s At Risk

Amnesty: The Myanmar authorities’ restrictions on international aid in Rakhine state is putting tens of thousands of lives at risk in a region where mainly Rohingya people are already suffering horrific abuses from a disproportionate military campaign. More>>


Werewolf: Gordon Campbell On North Korea, Neo-Nazism, And Milo

With a bit of luck the planet won’t be devastated by nuclear war in the next few days. US President Donald Trump will have begun to fixate on some other way to gratify his self-esteem – maybe by invading Venezuela or starting a war with Iran. More>>


Victory Declared: New Stabilisation Funding From NZ As Mosul Is Retaken

New Zealand has congratulated the Iraqi government on the successful liberation of Mosul from ISIS after a long and hard-fought campaign. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Current US Moves Against North Korea

If Martians visited early last week, they’d probably be scratching their heads as to why North Korea was being treated as a potential trigger for global conflict... More>>


Gordon Campbell: On The Lessons From Corbyn’s Campaign

Leaving partisan politics aside – and ignoring Jeremy Corbyn’s sensational election campaign for a moment – it has to be said that Britain is now really up shit creek... More>>