Scientists raise proliferation concerns over nuclear plans in New Brunswick – by Matthew McClearn (Globe and Mail – May 26, 2021)

The Canadian government’s financial support for a proposed reprocessing facility for nuclear waste in New Brunswick undermines global efforts to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons, a group of U.S. nuclear non-proliferation experts and former government officials says.

Moltex Energy, a small, privately held company based in Saint John, plans to build a nuclear power plant in New Brunswick by the early 2030s. It would recycle spent fuel from Canada’s CANDU reactors (including NB Power’s Point Lepreau Nuclear Generating Station), and reprocess the waste in a 300-megawatt reactor called the Stable Salt Reactor-Wasteburner (SSR-W).

Moltex received a combined $50.5-million from the federal Strategic Innovation Fund and the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) in March.

An open letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau sent on Tuesday said the plutonium recovered by Moltex’s reprocessing plant would present high proliferation and environmental risks.

France, Russia, China and India (all of which have nuclear weapons programs) reprocess spent nuclear fuel to recover plutonium. Japan is currently the only country without a weapons program to do so.

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