Why not reuse nuclear fuel?


This was a post over at Washington's estimable blog, which I reproduce because I can:



Radiation Danger Covered Up Ever Since Nuclear Weapons Invented

Government Has Been Covering up Radiation Danger for 67 Years
The U.S. and other governments have been covering up nuclear meltdowns for fifty years to protect the nuclear power industry.
It turns out that the U.S. tried to cover up the destructive nature of radiation produced by nuclear weapons 67 years ago. As Democracy Now reports:
The army was well aware in 1943 of the enormous potential for radiation dangers to civilians and military personnel as a result of the use of radioactive weapons ….
[The New York Times] was essentially putting out the official government narrative [regarding the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki], which is that atomic radiation is not harmful, is not a major byproduct of the nuclear weapons program. You know, it’s only the blast that has essentially a very short impact. The reason that this has importance is that for really a half century, this narrative became the government’s response to all protests against nuclear power, the nuclear weapons programs of the 1950s and 1960s and the Cold War. So, [The New York Times] essentially set the table that the government was to occupy for the next half century as they disputed any attempt to rein in, you know, the rapid acceleration of nuclear weapons and power programs.
Nothing has changed. Governments worldwide continue to this day to cover up the amount – and health effects – of radiation released by military and energy facilities.
And the same considerations which drove the cover up in 1945 are still driving it. The archaic uranium reactor designs developed more than 40 years ago are good for making bombs.

And this, the comment that sparked this post:


The Energy Doctor says:
With all of the disinformation out there, it is hard to know the truth. But, I saw an interview with a retired nuclear engineer that helped design the reactors like Fukishima had. He said they were originally designed to reuse the uranium until it had no radiation at all. He says that is why the containment parts weren’t so foolproof since the remaining material would have no radiation danger. He said the Feds made them change so the fuel rods were not reused. HMMMM?
The farther you go down the rabbit hole, the more evil and crazy TPTB are.

Read more

To which "...so the fuel rods were not reused" I proffer the following.

From Wikipedia:




Isotopes of Plutonium
....The higher plutonium isotopes are created when the uranium fuel is used for a long time. It is the case that for high burnup used fuel that the concentrations of the higher plutonium isotopes will be higher than the low burnup fuel which is reprocessed to obtain weapons grade plutonium.

Read more



Plutonium-240 
... is an isotope of the metal plutonium formed when plutonium-239 captures a neutron. About 62% to 73% of the time when Pu-239 captures a neutron it undergoes fission; the rest of the time it forms Pu-240. The longer a nuclear fuel element remains in a nuclear reactor the greater the relative percentage of Pu-240 in the fuel becomes. For weapons use, the fuel needs to be as low in Pu-240 as possible, usually less than 7% of the total plutonium (this is because Pu-240 sometimes undergoes spontaneous fission, causing the weapon to detonate prematurely), but this is achieved by reprocessing the fuel after just 90 days of use. Such rapid fuel cycles are highly impractical for civilian power reactors and are normally only carried out with dedicated weapons plutonium production reactors. Spent civilian power reactor fuel typically has under 70% Pu-239 and around 26% Pu-240, the rest being made up of other plutonium isotopes, making it extremely difficult but not technically impossible to use it for manufacturing nuclear weapons.
Read more

and from 
y Mark A. Prelas, Michael Peck, Chapter 3, "Characteristics of Nuclear Weapons:" 







Here are the surrounding pages -- sorry, Google books does not give them as text, only images:



    
  










































Be seeing you.


1 comment: