[extropy-chat] Nuke 'em

John K Clark jonkc at att.net
Fri Oct 28 15:15:40 UTC 2005

"Samantha Atkins" <sjatkins at mac.com>

> Is this also true of Thorium based reactors?

I have no idea, I know nothing about Thorium based pebble bed reactors and
didn't know one had been built, tell me more.

In general I do know that Thorium reactors produce less Plutonium but they
also produce Uranium 233, and you can make bombs with that too. Up to now
nobody has bothered to make a bomb with Uranium 233 because Thorium reactors
are less economical than conventional reactors, but if that were to
change ....

> It is not  quite enlightening to simply say every
> reactor produces plutonium

Ok, let me try again then: What is the sound of one hand clapping?

> and thus is a problem for anti-proliferation.

I believe I specifically said it wasn't clear that power reactors would
significantly increase the proliferation problem.

> Simply removing the pellets periodically is certainly not enough
> to enable efficient weapons-grade plutonium production.

Actually it is. The key way to prevent your weapons grade Pu-239 from being
polluted with PU- 240 is to limit the time your Uranium fuel is in the
reactor, and with pebble beds it's especially easy to do that.

  John K Clark

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