NBC Weapons: December 16, 1999


The Board of Directors of the Tennessee Valley Authority voted unanimously on 8 Dec to allow a commercial nuclear power plant, for the first time, to produce materials for nuclear weapons. The Watts Bar Nuclear Plant will be used to produce tritium (needed for the key reaction in a Hydrogen Bomb) as early as 2003. The plant will, simultaneously, continue to produce electricity for the Tennessee Valley Authority. The US noted that Canada and Russia allow dual military and civilian use of their nuclear reactors. The deal will make the TVA a profit of about $10 million per year. As tritium is a perishable commodity, all of the hydrogen bombs in existence are steadily losing power every day that they sit unused. New tritium must be injected periodically in order to keep the bombs at full yield. --Stephen V Cole


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