This is because it will increasingly be trundled around countries, and shipped across the world, to fuel reactors. The Earth has limited amounts of usable uranium that will not take more energy to mine and process than it generates – so the industry wants to eke the supply out by mixing it with plutonium. Indeed, such so-called mixed oxide (Mox) fuel is already used in some reactors.
The plutonium comes from separating it and uranium out of nuclear waste at reprocessing plants such as Sellafield. Until that is done, it is impossible for terrorists to get at it, because it is mixed up with the lethally radioactive waste. But extracting it from Mox fuel, experts say, is relatively simple. Worse, they add, building a crude bomb is not that difficult either. Students with no specialist knowledge, using only the open literature, have produced workable designs.
The aim of MOX is exactly the opposite. It\’s to take bomb making plutonium and turn it into something less easy to make into a bomb.