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

From: Chuck Kuecker (
Date: Fri Jan 26 2001 - 03:56:42 MST

At 01:19 PM 1/26/01 +1100, you wrote:

>That's the only conceivable reason for opposing fast breeder reactors, eh?
>Let's see:
>< Reactors designed specifically to produce more fissile material than they
>consume as a result of the conversion of uranium-238 into fissile plutonium
>isotopes are called "breeder reactors.">
>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.

Don't forget the genenginnered smallpox...

>Oh, by the way, the same report claims:
>< Despite its theoretical attractiveness in converting non-fissile into
>fissile material, the breeder reactor has turned out to be a far tougher
>technology than thermal reactors. Despite five decades of effort during
>which many pilot and "demonstration" plants have been built, the
>sodium-cooled breeder reactor design remains on the margin of commercial
>nuclear technology. The magic of fuel multiplication has not yet been
>realized on any meaningful scale relative to nuclear electricity generation
>levels. >

I know I have mentioned Argonne Lab's IFR project, that the late
un-lamented Mr. Clinton's administration killed before it could be finished...

>Is that to be believed? After all, the Institute for Energy and
>Environmental Research is almost certainly a bunch of pinko self-serving
>sky-are-fallers. And it might be that the reason breeders are not yet
>financially plausible is precisely because ninny bureaucracies have
>mandated orders of magnitude more safety provisions over their deployment
>than is warranted. I can accept that. I mean, this is just nice, clean
>*plutonium* we're talking about making here, right, all around the world?
>Damien Broderick

Plutonium inside the IFR would never leave the building - neither would
high or medium-level wastes. The containment would not be opened after
commission until the plant had run out of reprocessable fuel.

Perhaps the new administration will consider restarting the IFR program,
rather than Star Wars? It would have much greater immediate impact on, say,
California's woes...

Chuck Kuecker

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