Jean Chrétien: "Don't Bring Plutonium Into Canada"
Message To Jean Chrétien:
"Don't Bring Plutonium Into Canada"
At a G-7 meeting in Moscow (April 19-20, 1996) Prime Minister Jean
Chrétien signed a Memorandum of Understanding which opens the door to
having plutonium from Russia (extracted from Russian nuclear warheads)
imported into Canada -- to be used as fuel for Ontario Hydro's "Bruce A" nuclear
There has been no public consultation, no parliamentary debate, indeed no open
democratic process whatsoever leading up to this astonishing policy initiative on
the part of M. Chrétien. Please fax M. Chrétien at (613)
-- AS SOON AS POSSIBLE !! --
to let him know what you and
your organization think about this plan. Feel free to combine any or all of the
following paragraphs into your own message.
Plutonium may also be imported from the United States into Canada. Please read
the attached "Nuclear Watchdog Bulletin"
for further information and write two letters:
- Tell the Prime Minister that you oppose the import of plutonium fuel and that
you want him to stop supporting it.
The Right Honourable Jean Chrétien,
Prime Minister of Canada,
Room 309-S, Centre Block, House of Commons,
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6
fax = 613-941-6900
- Tell the U.S. Department of Energy that you don't want plutonium fuel
imported into Canada (the deadline is June 7, 1996 -- re: Storage and Disposition of
Weapons-Usable Fissile Materials, Draft Programmatic Environmental Impact
U.S. Department of Energy
Office of Fissile Materials Disposition
P.O. Box 23786 Washington, D.C.
fax = 202-586-
The Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility is strongly opposed to the
concept of importing plutonium into Canada to be used as fuel in Ontario Hydro's
Date: April 10 1996
To: Prime Minister Jean Chrétien
(613) 941 6900
From: Gordon Edwards, President,
Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility,
c.p. 236, Station Snowdon
Montreal QC H3X 3T4
Phone or Fax: (514) 489 5118
We urge you to diversify your sources of advice on this subject. Every independent
study we are aware of has advocated full public discussion and debate prior to any
decision on the use of plutonium as a reactor fuel. Here in Canada, there has been
no such discussion or debate. Consequently, you have no mandate from the people
to embark on this dangerous course of action.
We urgently request a meeting with you, Mr. Prime Minister, to discuss this
- "Burning" ex-warhead plutonium by using it as fuel in CANDU reactors does
not eliminate the plutonium. Only about half of it is fissioned, and more
plutonium is created inside the reactor as a result of
neutron bombardment of uranium-238 . Although there is a net reduction in
the total amount of plutonium, both the ex-warhead plutonium that remains
unfissioned and the plutonium that is newly made inside the reactor are weapons-
usable materials, posing a security problem for millenia.
- Increasing civilian traffic in plutonium will only magnify the risks of theft
and/or diversion by criminals, terrorist organizations, or other groups wishing to
use plutonium as an atomic explosive or as a
radiological weapon -- this is, in essence, the "plutonium problem" that must be
- Canada's use of plutonium as a reactor fuel will encourage other states to
follow suit, thus perpetuating the plutonium problem, not eliminating it.
- The unprecedented security measures required to safeguard the handling of
plutonium fuel (called 'mixed oxide' or MOX fuel) will have an adverse effect on civil liberties in Canada.
- Because of the extraordinary toxicity of plutonium in a respirable form, as well
as the danger of an accidental fission reaction occurring, a plutonium fuel
fabrication plant will be expensive to build and dangerous to operate.
- More importantly, a commercial plutonium fuel fabrication plant will pose an
exceptional security risk since, at that
stage of handling, the plutonium is not mixed with highly radioactive materials and
it is quite portable.
- Even if the plutonium itself were provided free of charge, experts agree that the
use of plutonium fuel (MOX fuel) will be
substantially more expensive than continuing the use of natural uranium fuel.
- We believe that Pierre Trudeau was correct when he told
the United Nations in 1978 that the production of plutonium
should be outlawed globally. There seems little point in
"burning" or locking up plutonium at one end of the fuel
chain while continuing to produce it at the other end. We
think your government should be working to end plutonium
- Selling CANDU reactors abroad also increases the amount
of plutonium in the world, since any régime in the next fifty
thousand years can extract plutonium
from spent CANDU fuel and use it in atomic bombs.
- We believe that ex-warhead plutonium should be
guarded within a tight security net under strict international
control. We do not believe it should be used to fuel civilian
nuclear reactors and we will strenuously oppose any attempt to
import plutonium into Canada for that purpose.
Yours very truly,
Gordon Edwards, Ph.D., President,
Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility.
Anne McLellan, Minister of Natural Resources --- FAX = (613) 943 0044
John Manley, Minister of Industry and Science --- FAX = (613) 996 3443
Lloyd Axworthy, Minister of Foreign Affairs ----- FAX = (613) 992 0302
[ The Dangers of Encouraging Plutonium Use ]
[ Bomb Makers Speak Out Against Plutonium ]
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