Thursday, November 18, 2010

Nuclear Energy Factoid

Commercial power reactors do not lead to nuclear weapons. No state that has nuclear weapons got there by starting with commercial reactors. To produce electricity economically you want to burn the fuel as long as possible. The longer the fuel is in a reactor, the more plutonium 240 is produced. Plutonium 240 is very dangerous to fabricate into weapons because it is too fissionable. it goes critical too easily. When weapons-grade plutonium is produced from reactors it is done by taking the fuel out after only a limited amount of time. The short-exposure fuel has much higher fractions of plutonium 239 which is what constitutes weapons-grade material.

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