Community Coalition Against Mining Uranium (CCAMU)
Inquiry on the Impacts of the Uranium Cycle
WEAPONS-GRADE URANIUM USED IN CHALK RIVER FOR ISOTOPE PRODUCTION
by Gordon Edwards
An important aspect of the isotope-production fiasco that is hardly ever mentioned in the news is the fact that AECL uses weapons-grade uranium (95 percent enriched) to produce
the main isotope (Molybdenum-99) that everyone in the field of nuclear medicine was upset about.|
This is a very dangerous practice and should be discontinued.
Weapons-grade uranium is the stuff that was used in the Hiroshima bomb. It is much easier to make a bomb with weapons-grade uranium than with plutonium; a very power-ful bomb could be made with much less stringent engineering requirements. It is immediately weapons-usable material.
The only stockpile of weapons-grade uranium in Canada is in Ottawa/Chalk River for isotope production, and there is enough stockpiled for two or more atomic bombs.
Molybdenum-99 can be made using low-enriched uranium which is NOT weapons-usable material, but it would cost more. Argentina, for example, makes all of its molybdenum-99 from low-enriched uranium.
For more on this issue see: