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Hearing Held on Nuclear Fuel Disposal

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LOS ALAMOS (AP) — Anti-nuclear activists are questioning a proposal to ship more plutonium to New Mexico.

Several activists lined up Tuesday evening in Los Alamos for the first in a series of public hearings on how best to dispose of surplus plutonium from the nation’s nuclear weapons program.

One plan being studied by the Department of Energy calls for the shipment of 7 metric tons — or what one activist estimates is enough to power nearly 3,000 warheads — to Los Alamos National Laboratory and the Savannah River site in South Carolina for processing into fuel for commercial nuclear reactors.

The plan also calls for another 6 tons of surplus plutonium to be disposed of at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in Carlsbad.

Activists questioned the safety of bringing more plutonium to an aging facility that has been deemed inadequate to sustain a major earthquake. But lab chemist and plutonium expert David Clark said there is plenty of room to safely handle the program.

A second public hearing is scheduled Thursday evening in Santa Fe. A third will be held in Carlsbad next week.

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