Skip to comments.Israelis develop 'safe' plutonium: good for power, bad for weapons
Posted on 03/05/2009 9:38:58 AM PST by Yollopoliuhqui
Israeli boffins have developed a promising technique for "declawing" plutonium, which would let it be used as fuel but not for building bombs. They believe the technique could greatly expand peaceful use of nuclear power worldwide, while preventing weapons proliferation.
Almost all plutonium is produced in nuclear reactors, which can run on either uranium or plutonium fuel rods. When the rods are replaced with new ones, the old fuel can be reprocessed - so yielding useful fissionable fuel including plutonium, and reducing the amount of waste requiring disposal or storage.
Beyond basic reprocessing, there is also scope for more advanced techniques such as the use of fast-breeder reactors or perhaps hybrid fusion/fission ones, so turning almost all of the high-level radioactive waste produced by today's power reactors into useful fissile fuel.
Spike it with Americium 241 (or Neptunium 237)?
Shouldn’t be all that hard to chemically separate them out.
“But Professor Yigal Ronen of Ben-Gurion University says he and his colleagues have cracked a method whereby plutonium can be robbed of usefulness for weapons, yet remain a good power source. He believes this would let the established five nuclear-weapon states of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (the US, UK, France, Russia and China) trade and supply nuclear fuel to other nations with a guarantee that no weapons would result.
It seems the secret is to add the rare-earth isotope Americium-241 in due proportion.”
But he claims that Np237 didn’t work as well as the Am241.
Reprocessing begins by dissolving the rods into their separate chemicals, then selectively removing the non-fuel waste from the radioactive waste.
I agree - So how is he gong to prevent somebody from removing the Am241 - if they already have the ability to handle and separate the hundreds of other elements already in the old fuel rods?
Just remove the americium 241 and you’ve got weapons-grade plutonium.
I’m not getting it.
Lots of stuff to drive the envro-commies to fits.http://www.technologyreview.com/energy/22114/
"We must scrap ALL energy production and may the strongest humans survive", the dogma of the loony left liberals.
I hope the name of the scientist who developed it isn’t “Dead Meat” Thompson.
And they’re NOT philistinian scientists either!
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.