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Energy Policy

Frank von Hippel says of the Japanese continuing production of plutonium – in addition to the 35 tons stored around the world – for possible use in a “next-generation” fuel in power reactors, “It's crazy. There is absolutely no reason to do that." Perhaps not. The faith in plutonium goes back to the roots of nuclear power – not just the first use to which Japan was subjected to, but also the dream of perpetual power, of the breeder reactors. In fact, the very first grid electricity from nuclear fuel was produced in an experimental breeder reactor and even though most countries have given up on the breeder technology, some after wasting billions of dollars, some still continue – in particular, India. How ironic that Japan should press on with the nuclear dream while Germany, the original villain against whom the US had considered using nuclear power, has given up. Even more ironic that the country that suffered and hence foreswore the pursuit of nuclear weapons should actively promote its nuclear wares to the first openly defiant weapons proliferator – again, India.