The Party Line – September 16, 2011: Though Nuclear Crisis Continues, IAEA Can’t Force Safety Overhaul
On Monday, September 12, an incinerator explosion at a French nuclear waste processing center killed one, injured four, and created just enough nuclear news to edge this week’s other nuclear story right out of the headlines.
The explosion, which is reported not to have caused any leak of radiation, was at a facility that reprocesses used nuclear reactor fuel in order to create a more toxic, less stable form of fuel commonly known as “mixed oxide” or MOX. MOX, which is a tasty blend of uranium and plutonium, was in at least some of the rods in some of the reactors at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi facility when it suffered catastrophic failures after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami–and the presence of MOX fuel made the fallout from explosions at the Japanese plant more dangerous as a result. (More dangerous than already extremely dangerous might seem like a trivial addendum, but it is of note if for no other reason than the manufacture and use of MOX fuel is what nuclear power proponents think of when they call it a “renewable resource.”) Read the rest of this entry →