U.K. marketFear of dirty bomb threat as U.K. ships plutonium to France

Published 11 March 2008

Sellafield had an ambitious, £473 million plan: Make new nuclear fuel out of mixture of plutonium and uranium oxides recovered from used fuel; the plan flopped, and the company had to turn to its chief competitor, French firm Cogema, to fulfill its orders for the fuel material; trouble is, shipping the material to France on an unarmed ferry is dangerous, as the material could easily be used to make a dirty bomb

Weapons-ready plutonium which terrorists could easily make into a nuclear bomb is to be carried hundreds of miles down the west coast of Britain in an unarmed ship, the Independent’s Geoffrey Lean writes. Experts say that the plutonium dioxide powder, shortly to be taken to France from the Sellafield nuclear complex for the first time, would be an ideal material for creating a nuclear explosion and for use in a dirty bomb. One calls it “the worst possible material” to ship. Yet the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, which owns Sellafield, is to take it on an old roll-on roll-off ferry with few security and safety features