Comments on the possibility of decoupling decisions on the licensing of nuclear power plants from decisions on nuclear fuel reprocessing facilities. The author suggests that amended legislation should make it feasible to license new nuclear power plants while deferring a decision on the commercial reprocessing of light water reactor fuel. To link decisions on electricity supply to decisions on commercial reprocessing would prevent U.S. antiproliferation policies from having a chance in the international arena. Halting the export of reprocessing facilities would prevent one pathway for the acquisition of nuclear explosives through separation of plutonium in spent fuel, and would promote prospects for regional arms control agreements. Efforts are under way to block nuclear fuel pathways to weapons acquisition; and there is no reason to link these efforts with decisions to license or not to license nuclear-fission power plants in California.
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