[ExI] Silence in the sky-but why?
kellycoinguy at gmail.com
Sun Sep 29 07:45:09 UTC 2013
On Wed, Sep 25, 2013 at 10:27 AM, John Clark <johnkclark at gmail.com> wrote:
> On Tue, Sep 24, 2013 at 4:15 PM, Kelly Anderson <kellycoinguy at gmail.com>wrote:
> > I recently spoke with a group of retired engineers who used to work for
>> theIdaho National Laboratory. They indicated that they had once built and
>> detonated a thorium based nuclear weapon, which I thought was interesting.
>> Most of the thorium advocates claim it is safer in terms of nuclear weapons
>> proliferation. Perhaps it is really difficult to make a bomb out of
>> thorium, but apparently, it is possible.
> Nobody can make a bomb out of Thorium but you can turn Thorium into
> Uranium 233 and you can make a bomb out of that, but as far as I know it
> has only been attempted twice. in 1955 the USA set off a plutonium-U233
> composite bomb, it was expected to produce 33 kilotons but only managed 22;
> and in 1998 India tried it but it was a complete flop, it produced a
> miniscule explosion of only 200 tons.
> Today no nation has U233 bombs in their stockpile and there is a reason
> for that. The critical mass for U233 is 16 kilograms, that is slightly
> smaller than the critical mass for U235, but for P239 its only 4.4
> kilograms. And U233, if it were obtained from a Thorium reactor like a
> LFTR, would be a nightmare to work with because about 1% of it would be
> contaminated with U232; in one second your unexploded fission core would
> produce more gamma rays than a plutonium core would in 26 hours. All those
> gamma rays would play hell with the bomb's electronics and decompose its
> chemical explosive, not to mention causing a bit of bother to the poor
> terrorists rushing around to finish building the damn thing before they
> dropped dead. And forget about trying to hide this behemoth, all those
> gamma rays are like a huge neon sign saying "NUCLEAR BOMB HERE".
> Existing Uranium reactors have produced about 1600 tons of Plutonium,
> there is no way to avoid them making the crap and regular reactors don't
> burn it up so it just accumulates. A LFTR produces U233 from Thorium but it
> burns 100% of it up, it has to or the reactor won't operate, and it makes
> virtually no Plutonium. The U233 is completely burned up inside the reactor
> where its hard to steal, and if it is stolen the theft is obvious because
> the reactor stops. A Uranium reactor produces lots of neutrons but a LFTR
> makes less of them, so it needs all the U233 that it makes
> to keep the chain reaction going, if you try stealing some the reactor
> will simply stop operating making the theft obvious.
> And in existing Uranium reactors used fuel rods are shipped to
> reprocessing plants to extract the Plutonium. In one case the potential
> bomb making material needs to be shipped across the country, with a LFTR it
> never leaves the reactor building.
> So you can make a bomb out of U233 but its hard as hell, so with thousands
> of tons of easy to use Plutonium already produced and more made every day
> in conventional reactors, not to mention thousands of poorly guarded fully
> functional bombs in the former USSR, why would any self respecting
> terrorist bother with U233, especially when it's so hard to steal from a
Thanks for taking the time to make that so clear John. I really appreciate
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