In October, Japan will finish building a $22 billion plutonium factory at Rokkasho, a windswept village on its seacoast, that in a single year will produce enough of the nuclear explosive to make 2,600 bombs. The plutonium is meant to be burned in civilian power reactors, but all such plants in Japan are now shuttered and none will be able to burn plutonium for many years. Other nations are operating or building plants to make plutonium, but Japan’s is the first to be finished in a non-nuclear weapons state, and some experts say it sets a dangerous precedent. In this series, we examine the origins of the plant and its consequences as well as the furious political and diplomatic debates over its future operation. The Center’s articles here are the second major part of its continuing investigation into the world’s faltering efforts to control dangerous nuclear explosives.