First quarter of 1999

Nuclear Terrorism and the International Transport of Plutonium

WISE-Paris, 22 March 1999

[Posted 22/03/1999]

On 17 March 1999, an Early Day Motion was tabled at the House of Commons (UK) on the planned shipment of plutionium fuel from Europe to Japan (EDM 438) which received signatures from 10 members of parliament as of 21 March 1999.

MPs signed up in support: Phil Willis; Harry Barnes; Colin Breed; Bill Etherington; Ronnie Fearn; Paul Flynn; Andy King; Robert Marshall-Andrews; Bob Russell; Jenny Tonge:

- That this House notes the impending departure of British ships transporting plutonium to Japan;
- is extremely concerned at the increasing threat posed by international terrorists to the security of these shipments;
- further notes that neither the British nor the Japanese armed forces will be responsible for guarding the shipments on their journey from Sellafield to Takahama;
- notes the concern of members of the US Congress that this level of protection is below the minimum specified in the 1988 US-Japan Agreement and far below that then considered necessary by the Pentagon;
- understands that the ships will be excluded both from the Suez canal and from a zone extending 200 miles from the South African coast because of the terrorist threat;
- is seriously concerned about the development of an international trade in plutonium and mixed oxide fuel which would increase the frequency of such shipments;
- and calls on the Government to initiate a full public debate about the security and environmental implications of the international plutonium trade following the forthcoming publication of the House of Lords Select Committee report on Radioactive Waste Management.

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