The Bush administration wants to restart a controversial program to
reprocess spent nuclear fuel, a technology abandoned by the United
States decades ago as a costly security risk, a congressional source
said on Friday.

The move would support the administration’s goal
of building more nuclear reactors to generate electricity, and help
deal with some of the thousands of tons of nuclear waste piling up at
nuclear power plants around the country.

The administration plans
to ask in its 2007 budget next month for $250 million so the Department
of Energy can develop new ways to reprocess nuclear fuel to make it
harder to use its plutonium byproduct in nuclear weapons, the source
said.

"We expect (the) nuclear recycling program to be reflected
in DOE’s budget," the source told Reuters, speaking on condition of
anonymity.

A White House spokesman declined to comment on the
proposal. An administration official said a consensus stance had been
reached regarding reprocessing, but declined to provide details.

The
United States stopped recycling nuclear fuel in the 1970s because it
was too expensive and there was concern terrorist groups or rogue
nations could get access to plutonium and make nuclear bombs.

By Tom Doggett

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