In a well-planned but secretive and controversial mission the world has heard little about, two armed ships left the UK to sail around the world to Japan. The purpose of this clandestine mission is to bring a consignment of plutonium to the U.S. As the world’s stockpiles of plutonium continue to increase, in the early morning hours of January 19, two armed ships, the Barrow ships Pacific Egret and Pacific Heron, moved from the Ramsden Dock nuclear terminal, headed on a round-the-world voyage to Japan. The two ships are nuclear fuel carriers fitted with naval cannon on their decks. They are operated by Pacific Nuclear Transport Ltd, which ultimately is owned by the British government. On board both ships are heavily armed members of a security squad provided by the Civil Nuclear Constabulary’s Strategic Escort Group. Their mission is secretive and controversial, and with good reason. Once the ships get to Japan, they will be loading some 331 kilograms (730 pounds) of highly fissionable and toxic plutonium. The amount is small, considering that Japan has at least 47 tons of the stuff stored at the Nuclear Science Research Institute northeast of Tokyo, according to a comment in the Japan Today. Once loaded, the two ships will make their way to the U.S. port of Charleston and onwards to the Savannah River site in South Carolina, says EcoWatch. Digital Journal readers may remember the Savannah River Site was featured in a story about antibiotic-resistant bacteria in Dec. 2015. The site is owned by the Department of Energy and has been closed to the public for some time.
Digital Journal 25th Jan 2016 read more »