----- Open letter to PM Trudeau: Moltex project funding
We write as US nonproliferation experts and former government officials and advisors with related responsibilities to express our concern about your government’s financial support of Moltex ($50.5 million) – a startup company that proposes to reprocess CANDU spent fuel to recover its contained plutonium for use in molten-salt-cooled reactors.
We understand your government’s motivation to support nuclear power and to reduce fossil fuel use but saving the world from climate disaster need not be in conflict with saving it from nuclear weapons. Also, like other reprocessing efforts, Moltex, even in the R&D stage, would create a costly legacy of contaminated facilities and radioactive waste streams and require substantial additional government funding for cleanup and stabilization prior to disposal.
Moltex claims that the removal of plutonium and other long-lived transuranic elements from CANDU spent fuel would reduce the long-term risk from a deep underground radioactive waste repository. That claim has been discredited repeatedly. Moltex-type reactions have proved to be extremely costly and unreliable and has not produced stable forms of radioactive waste suitable for deep underground disposal.
Frank N. von Hippel, Princeton University,
Matthew Bunn et al,
Project on Managing the Atom, Harvard Kennedy School