Re: Nuclear Power

From: Michael S. Lorrey (
Date: Thu Mar 16 2000 - 00:23:26 MST

John Clark wrote:
> Michael S. Lorrey <> Wrote:
> >France's entire nuke program is made up of breeder reactors,
> The entire program? I don't think so!
> >which are also capable of burning off nuclear waste.
> Burning off? Please explain what that means. Exactly what nuclear waste
> product are we talking about? What is the nuclear reaction that renders
> this "waste" harmless. What stops this "burning" from making more waste
> than it gets rid of.

Because how you tune the reactor determines whether you are creating
more plutonium or fissioning it away into other lighter isotopes to the
point where you wind up with low grade uranium, strontium, etc. which is
reprocessed to get the radioactive isotopes for more fissioning, and the
non-reactive isotopes can then be used in industry or disposed of. I
could type up a big paper on it, but you would be better to find
something that is already on the net with regard to the breeder reaction

> >Thats why France has nowhere near the waste problem we do,
> They may not have the political problem that the USA has as to where to
> permanently store highly radioactive material but that has nothing to do
> with technology.

They have far more greens than we do, but they are educated greens, who
prefer nukes that burn their own waste to smog and adding to the carbon
dioxide levels.

> Chuck Kuecker <> Wrote:
> > Plutonium in the IFR would never leave the containment.
> Maybe, but I wouldn't bet my life on it.

Read up on it John. I'm actually surprised that you are not aware of

> >High level wastes were blanketed around the reactor to absorb
> >stray neutrons, thereby speeding their decay.
> How is that going to work? OK, a neutron might turn a cobalt 60
> atom into a harmless isotope of nickel but a neutron could also
> turn U238 into plutonium or cause U235 to fission and produce
> more cobalt 60, or turn common potassium into potassium 40.

Sure, but you reprocess the waste to extract the remaining radioactive
isotopes for more fissioning, and the non-radioactive isotopes can be
used by industry.

> > World stocks of Pu are a rich source of power. They are not a liability
> > unless they are NOT burned in power plants.
> Getting rid of weapons grade plutonium in power plants might be a good idea
> but you don't need a breeder for that.

You do if you don't want more waste than you started with. The only
plants we have here in the US for getting rid of our weapons grade
plutonium are, in fact, breeder reactors.

> > The problem here in the US is that the anti-nuke crowd refuses to allow
> > reprocessing,
> Thousands of tons of plutonium exist on the earth and more is made every day,
> but most of it is mixed in with other extremely lethal radioactive waste so it's
> very hard to work with without separating it out in a chemical reprocessing plant.
> It only takes a few pounds to make a bomb so I want it hard to work with, I don't
> want a reprocessing plant.

The reprocessing plants are contained and typically automated with
remote pickups.

Mike Lorrey

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