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Hundreds of tons of plutonium have been produced since world War II. The Cold War is over, yet production of plutonium, one of the most potent cancer-causing substances known to humankind, continues in several countries. While much of it is allegedly now for civilian power generation, all plutonium can be used for nuclear weapons, and proliferation by sale or theft is an increasing risk.
Further, plutonium production (“reprocessing”) generates great volumes of highly radioactive liquid wastes, which under certain conditions can explode, as occurred in the Soviet Union in 1957. There is as yet no suitable method for disposing of these wastes or the plutonium itself. This book examines the huge security, health and environmental risks posed by plutonium and its wastes, and points the way toward a solution.