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Disarmament Diplomacy

Issue No. 42, December 1999

Green Light For US Tritium Production Plan

On December 8, the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) approved a plan for its Watts Bar civil reactor near Spring City to become the first civilian nuclear facility in the US to produce fissile materials - in this case the hydrogen isotope tritium - for military purposes. The Federally owned TVA was chosen by the Department of Energy in 1998 to provide tritium for US nuclear warheads. Under the terms of an initial US$25 million contract for the Department of Energy, TVA will conduct a three-year programme preparing for tritium production. During this period, it will also receive a license for production from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). The choice of TVA has been strongly criticised by the American peace movement as a contradiction of US efforts to discourage dual-use nuclear production in other countries. Ralph Hutchison, of the Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance, said on December 8: "They [other countries] are watching what we do, not listening to what we say."

Report: Commercial reactor to sell tritium, Associated Press, December 8.

© 2000 The Acronym Institute.

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