TVA eyes use of old warheads in making fuel

Part of the America's nuclear arsenal could end up in the Sequoyah or Browns Ferry power plants under an agreement reached Thursday between the military and the Tennessee Valley Authority.

TVA has agreed to consider using weapon-grade plutonium from discarded nuclear bombs to help fuel its nuclear plants in the next decade.

The pact between TVA and the National Nuclear Security Administration, if completed, could help the military dispose of surplus nuclear weapons' waste while providing TVA a cheaper source of nuclear fuel for the Sequoyah plant near Soddy-Daisy and the Browns Ferry plant near Athens, Ala.

But critics said the approach inappropriately mixes military and civilian use of nuclear materials and creates an undue risk in the Tennessee Valley.

"This sends the wrong signal around the world and is an unnecessary risk for TVA," said Tom Clements, the Southeastern Nuclear Campaign Coordinator for Friends of the Earth opposed to such nuclear reprocessing technology.