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9/23/2014 by mdc
http://www.forbes.com/sites/jamesconca/2014/09/23/a-nuclear-primer-what-is-an...
Dr. Conca reports that commercial nuclear power plants, and their nuclear waste, cannot be used to make weapons, contrary to the belief of a few people. There are two paths to the bomb, one using uranium and the other using plutonium. Pu-bombs are smaller, can be weaponized more easily and put on missiles. U-bombs are bulky and need to be dropped from a plane or driven to ground zero. So a U-bomb is easier to make, compared to a Pu-bomb. The number of nations having nuclear weapons has actually declined over the last twenty-five years, from eleven to nine. The focus on weapons proliferation by the United States and the International Atomic Energy Agency has been diligent and pretty effective.

The primary difference between commercial reactors and weapons reactors is what happens to the Pu formed from the U-238 after neutron capture. Commercial reactors burn the Pu as it is made, and Pu does not build-up in the fuel very much to separate and make a Pu-bomb out of it. Also, other non-fissile isotopes of Pu form over time, like Pu-240, that poison the uncontrolled chain reaction needed for a bomb and cannot be separated from the Pu-239 during reprocessing very easily.

Theoretically, it is possible to make a Pu-bomb out of commercial nuclear waste - we tried it once- but it is so difficult that no one has wasted their time attempting it again. It is much easier to make a weapons reactor designed to produce more Pu quickly. Such as reactor is run only for several months before any poison isotopes form, the fuel is removed and quickly dissolved up, and the Pu-239 separated and formed into the bomb. This is what the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea - the DPRK, formerly known as North Korea - has done. This is what everyone has done to make a Pu-bomb, including the United States.

See: http://sovietologist.blogspot.ca/2008/04/rbmk-reactors-and-weapons-grade.html

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Open Resource  |  2014/09/23  |  208 Report Broken   Tell Friend

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