Sunday, January 26, 2014

The Obama Administration Demands Japan to Return 300kg of Weapon-Grade Plutonium the US Sent During Cold War Era

First it was the "disappointment" expressed by Ambassador Caroline Kennedy representing the United States Government that spooked Japanese. It was over the Yasukuni Shrine visit by the prime minister of Japan.

Then it was the United States Government's official stance as expressed also by Ambassador Kennedy that she and her government oppose a particular traditional way of fishing dolphins and whales in Japan. It delighted non-Japanese, pleased some Japanese, angered some more, puzzled many who wondered aloud, "Isn't there a more pressing issue between the US and Japan than a method of fishing?"

Now comes this, tad more relevant and contemporary than both from the US government, perhaps.

From Business Standard, quoting Kyodo News (1/27/2014):

US presses Japan to hand back 300 kg of plutonium

Japan's key ally the US has been pressing the country to return more than 300 kg of mostly weapon-grade plutonium that it exported to Japan for research purposes during the Cold War era, media reported.

The plutonium that is stored at a fast critical assembly in Tokaimura in Japan's Ibaraki prefecture could be used to produce 40-50 nuclear weapons, reported Japan's Kyodo News, citing unnamed Japanese and US government officials, according to Xinhua.

Japan has strongly resisted the demand raised by US President Barack Obama's administration, but it finally gave in to repeated demands, Kyodo said.

The two countries since last year have been seriously discussing the issue as the US plans to reach an accord with Japan at the third nuclear security summit in March in the Netherlands, according to the report.

The fast critical assembly belonging to the Japan Atomic Energy Agency is the country's only critical assembly designed to study characteristics of fast reactors.

The Japanese ministry of education, culture, sports, science and technology and other researchers have argued that the plutonium in question is needed for research and vital for producing good data, said Kyodo.

At present, Japan has another estimated 44 tonnes of plutonium, but its quality is not on par with the plutonium used for research purposes, Kyodo quoted a Japanese expert as saying.

In East Asia, China possesses nuclear weapons. So does North Korea, who has restarted its gas-graphite reactor for plutonium production. Instead of doing something about them and their programs first, the Obama administration has been demanding the return of weapon-grade plutonium that the US sent to Japan as part of "Atoms for Peace" initiatives.

The original Kyodo News in Japanese says that "the Obama administration considers 'nuclear security' important". If that's the case, why has that administration who considers 'nuclear security' important allowed the detailed information (such as the amount of plutonium, number of nuclear bombs that could be made) to leak to the media?

Why now? Something doesn't add up. I wonder if the existence in Japan of 300 kilograms of weapon-grade plutonium has served as some kind of deterrent against an aggressive nation or two. Now the cover is blown.


Anonymous said...

We need PU-238 to come out of the inner Solar System.
Is this maybe the right motivation of the procession?
“Plutonium-238 does not occur in nature. Unlike 239Pu, it is unsuitable
for use in nuclear weapons. Plutonium-238 has been produced in
quantity only for the purpose of fueling RPSs. In the past, the United
States had an adequate supply of 238Pu, which was produced in
facilities that existed to support the U.S. nuclear weapons program.
The problem is that no 238Pu has been produced in the United States
since the Department of Energy (DOE) shut down those facilities in
the late 1980s. Since then, the U.S. space program has had to rely on
the inventory of 238Pu that existed at that time, supplemented by the
purchase of 238Pu from Russia. However, Russian facilities to
produce 238Pu were also shut down many years ago, and the DOE
will soon take delivery of its last shipment of 238Pu from Russia. The
committee does not believe that there is any additional 238Pu (or any
operational 238Pu production facilities) available anywhere in the
world. The total amount of 238Pu available for NASA is fixed, and
essentially all of it is already dedicated to support several pending
Mars Science Laboratory, Discovery 12, the Outer
Planets Flagship 1 (OPF 1), and (perhaps) a small number of
additional missions with a very small demand for 238Pu.
If the status
quo persists, the United States will not be able to provide RPSs for
any subsequent missions.”

Where does the plutonium come from?

Anonymous said...

"It delighted non-Japanese, pleased some Japanese, angered some more, puzzled many who wondered aloud, "Isn't there a more pressing issue between the US and Japan than a method of fishing?"

Then it was mentioned the "traditional" aspect was not as continuous as stated, that it dated only from the '60s.
The world must suppose with Japan that the killing of dolphins, a species that will rescue a drowning human, is ok in much the same way as selling contaminated fish to your fellow Japanese. That it is a baseless rumor that the dolphins do not want to be slaughtered or sold into isolation slavery by the creatures that killed their fellow pod-members, unprovoked.

A Japanese government/fishermen experiment to see what is an allowable baseless rumor, like mammals that conduct themselves .. as reptiles?


Anonymous said...

Few Japanese eat either whale or dolphin. There is nothing traditional about this method.Whale came in during the war and post-war era as a cheap protein source.
Please refrain from posting such red herrings and stuck to the point about the plutonium ----which probably indicates Japan was working on nucelar weapons development at Fukushima hand in hand with Uncle Sam. Got to hide those traces now!

Anonymous said...

I agree with you 7:49 that it is silly to think of the Japanese using a nuclear weapon on the North Koreans or Chinese as your country is directly downwind of both targets. A better phrase would be "one-nuttedness" as your country might get away with it with the North Koreans but the Chinese would turn your island nation into a sea of glass.

Is it ok to use ad hominems in calling war atrocity deniers retarded? See, that's the "one-nuttedness" as there's not a single country anywhere else in the world that sympathizes with the War Shrine-sters.

anonymous said...

Japan is wrapped in chains, forged in traditions although the ruling elite's thinking is not that much different from any other country when an agenda is set in place.

Bubba said...

This probably smacks of further US government-led actions of both, placating the Chinese on the increasing armament production & stockpiling, as well as the ongoing, uninterrupted disarmament of the US government nuclear arsenal in full. Did you know that there has been a steady purge of senior military commanders who aren't compromised yes-men, but also others who are in charge of overall dealing with the American nukes, & those forcibly-retired top commanders aren't being replaced? Did you know that the US government hasn't, ever, even SUGGESTED to the Chinese government that they reduce their increasing militarization manufacturing, much less halt it, or even disarm their own nuclear arsenal? So, the US calling in their most prolific allie, & in the currently-conflicted Pacific yet, is likely more gathering of remaining Western-sided nukes for destruction & not upgrading or replacement. If Japan turned out to be involved at all in developing anything weapons-grade-related with that plutonium in question, it was likely comparatively small-grade & this represents further, as said, sweeping up by the US.

Anonymous said...

Mystery solved: the brutish ancestry of Shinzo Abe decoded (and a possible explanation for the crazed Finn, lol).

The ancient Neanderthal-Eugenics experiment:
"The Nature paper found that people of more East Asian descent [Abe] had slightly more Neanderthal than Europeans, indicating that there may have been a second wave of interbreeding in Asia, researchers said.
The Nature study found Beijing residents with Han Chinese ancestors had the highest Neanderthal DNA rate: 1.4 percent. Los Angeles residents of Mexican descent had 1.22 percent Neanderthal DNA. In Europe, Finns had the highest Neanderthal DNA rate with 1.2 percent. Utah residents with northern and western European roots came in at 1.17 percent. And Puerto Ricans had only 1.05 percent Neanderthal in them.
All these people still can trace far more of their genetic roots to early humans in Africa than they can to Neanderthals in ancient Europe."

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