A U.S. scientist and former employee of a U.S. Energy Department institute, to which Japanese glass maker Hoya Corp. ships materials, says the institute is conducting nuclear weapons research.
Hoya claims that shipping the product to the facility will not contribute to development of nuclear weapons.
Issac Trotts, 25, is a member of an antinuclear organization in California and former employee of the institute. He told a news conference the facility is conducting research to improve the precision of nuclear weapons.
Trotts is visiting Japan at the invitation of the Japan Congress Against A- and H- Bombs (Gensuikin).
Before joining the antinuclear group, Trotts worked at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California, where the National Ignition Facility funded by the U.S. Energy Department is currently under construction.
Trotts was in charge of research on the visualization of data. He said he resigned after learning that his research could lead to the improved performance of nuclear weapons.
He told the news conference that erroneous information concerning the shipments of Hoya’s product — special glass slabs — has been circulating.
The slabs will be used to amplify laser beams in the nuclear fusion process at the new facility, which is due to start partial operations in 2004 and be completed by 2007.
Hoya said in March it plans to resume suspended shipments of the glass to the facility, believing the product will not lead to new nuclear weapons development.
In February, the company temporarily suspended deliveries of the product by its U.S. subsidiary Hoya Corp. USA. The move followed domestic opposition that claimed the deal would help the U.S. maintain its nuclear arsenal.
“It was confirmed that this glass itself will not lead to new nuclear development and the research programs are to contribute to the elimination of nuclear weapons,” the company said in a letter to antinuclear groups.
Trotts visited Hoya’s Tokyo headquarters with members of Gensuikin and submitted a written request for the immediate halt of the shipments. He will return home Sunday after visiting Osaka, Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
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