December 15, 2000
To the Editor, The North Renfrew Times:
With apologies to Mark Twain, the rumours of the MOX test's demise have
been greatly exaggerated. Your article "MOX tests dead before they start?"
(December 13) erroneously reports that "a panel of American scientists has
ruled out the use of MOX fuel in CANDU reactors".
The report in question, a pre-publication version of which can be viewed
on-line at http://www.nap.edu/catalog/9999.html, finds instead
that the most recent CANDU-MOX option submitted by AECL is "marginally
compliant" with the so-called Spent-Fuel Standard. The report does find an
earlier CANDU-MOX option to be non-compliant, which may be the source of
Moreover, my personal review of this report suggests that several
questionable assumptions were made by the American panel (such as the
concentration of plutonium in the final spent fuel), which if corrected
could raised the CANDU-MOX compliance level well above "marginal".
The report is flawed and of little technical value.
Certainly I'd counsel against assigning much weight to the comments of Tom
Clements of the Nuclear Control Institute, a well-heeled American
anti-nuclear group with other things on their mind.