[extropy-chat] Nuke 'em

John K Clark jonkc at att.net
Thu Oct 27 04:53:22 UTC 2005


>> Weapons proliferation is indeed a very serious problem
>> and all reactors make Plutonium, but I'm not sure
>> expanding the use of power reactors would make
>> things much worse.

Samantha Atkins Wrote:

>I don't see how that is true in any meaningful way after
> reading this.  Please show me how a pebble bed reactor
> always makes plutonium or is even well suited for such use.

If you place Uranium is a sea of neutrons, and that's what a reactor is,
then like it or not, commercial reactor or military you're going to make
Plutonium. Indeed in the very article you mention I found this:

"Pu-239 is normally manufactured in nuclear reactors. If U-238 is exposed to
neutron radiation, the nuclei will occasionally capture a neutron, becoming
U-239. This happens more easily with fast neutrons than with slow neutrons,
although both can be used. The U-239 rapidly undergoes beta decay to give
Np-239, which rapidly undergoes a second beta decay, giving Pu-239. "

And it says to make bombs the Pu- 239 should not be polluted with Pu-240 and
your article then says this:

"A nuclear reactor that is used to produce plutonium must therefore have a
means for exposing U-238 to neutron radiation, and for frequently rotating
this U-238"

Since one of the claims of fame of the pebble bed reactor is that you can
refuel without shutting down it would seem to me to be especially suitable
for making weapons grade Plutonium

John K Clark

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