Re: breeder reactors (was: Re: Breaking News: World is 10 degchillier)

From: Michael Lorrey (
Date: Fri Jan 26 2001 - 13:03:08 MST

Chuck Kuecker wrote:
> At 11:10 AM 1/26/01 -0500, Mike Lorrey wrote:
> > >
> > > Hey! That's a great idea! Let's breed lots and lots of fissile plutonium
> > > isotopes! We could set up another plant down the road to pump out
> > > industrial quantities of Sarin gas while we're at it, but we'd make sure to
> > > keep it in very safe bottles.
> >
> >Whether or not it produces plutonium isotopes depends on how it is
> >tuned.
> <snip>
> >I have the advantage of having taken a nuclear engineering course in
> >college, as well as my father being involved in the construction of a
> >breeder reactor in the 60's at Hanford. Since your cite is an anti-nuke
> >website, its rather obvious what their agenda is, and where their bias
> >is. Their statement here is most certainly false.
> Is it possible to have a uranium breeder that does NOT produce plutonium -
> or are you referring to a non-breeder reactor?

I'll chat with pops, he still has lots of materials from the project,
incl photos of the reactor assembly he was in charge of building. It was
a liquid sodium breeder reactor all right.

There may be plutonium in the rods as part of the transmutation process,
just as there is in any nuclear reactor. Not building breeders does not
serve non-proliferation, since Iraq, Pakistan, and India have done quite
well processing materials from normal water reactors. If
non-proliferation is the real interest of Greens, they should be pushing
for an amendment to the non-proliferation treaty that allows reps of any
signatory nation to inspect the facilities of any other nation at any
time. This is the primary solution to the problem, the lack of which is
why Saddam has gotten as far as he has.
The point of breeders is that when tuned for fuel elimination, they will
turn radioactive isotopes into non-radioactive isotopes that are
completely safe after being processed with water and other neutron
absorbers to absorb and remaining radiation.

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