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SCI/TECH: U.S. set to resume plutonium 238 production-report

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posted on Jun, 27 2005 @ 02:16 AM
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At an estimated cost of up to $1.5 billion dollars, the U.S. is set to resume producing plutonium 238. According to government officials, the plutonium is to be used for secret missions. The plan would produce over 330 pounds of the material at Idaho National Laboratory. The U.S. last produced the material in the 80's and has used stockpiles or purchased the material from Russia when needed.
 



news.y ahoo.com
NEW YORK (Reuters) - The United States plans to produce highly radioactive plutonium 238 for the first time since the Cold War, The New York Times reported on Monday.

The newspaper quoted project managers as saying most, if not all, of the new plutonium was intended for secret missions. The officials would not disclose details, but the newspaper said the plutonium in the past powered espionage devices.

The Times said Timothy Frazier, head of radioisotope power systems at the U.S. Energy Department, vigorously denied in a recent interview any of the classified missions would involve nuclear arms, satellites or weapons in space.


Please visit the link provided for the complete story.


This material is also used in space probes because of the heat it gives off. The Cassini probe uses plutonium batteries for its power. The article also mentions that it is also used in espionage devices as well. Plutonium 239 is less radioactive and is used in nuclear weapons. The question is why so much and what are they going to use it in?




posted on Jun, 27 2005 @ 06:20 AM
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If the enrichment of Uranium by the Iranians equates to procuring nuclear weapons according to Britain, France, Germany and the USA. Then enriching plutonium by the Americans equates to procuring more nuclear weapons. This is equally against the NPT that the Americans signed.


Declaring their intention to achieve at the earliest possible date the cessation of the nuclear arms race and to undertake effective measures in the direction of nuclear disarmament,

US State Department - Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty

Developing more nuclear weapons is not pursuant to "effective measures in the direction of nuclear disarmament".

Iranians shouldnt get nuclear weapons and the United States shouldnt be adding to their stockpile. The NPT is clear on both types of limitations. Why the United States is above its requirements under the NPT is beyond me.

[edit on 27/6/05 by subz]



posted on Jun, 27 2005 @ 07:01 AM
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Nice find to the author

Subz, Pultonium 238 although is more radioactive than Plutonium 239. 238 is used for thermoelectric geberators


Plutonium-238 is used in radioisotope thermoelectric generators to provide electricity for space probes that venture too far from the sun to use solar power, such as the Cassini and Galileo probes.

Plutonium 239 though:


Plutonium-239 will undergo a fission chain reaction if enough of it is concentrated in one place, so it is used at the heart of modern day nuclear weapons and in some nuclear reactors.

So, the production of 238 would not be a violation of the NPT as 238 is not used to create nuclear weapons.
It's Elemental!



posted on Jun, 28 2005 @ 08:47 AM
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Don't worry about subz kenshiro, most people like him don't even bother reading the articles before making statements like that.

Here's a better article on the subject. The main reason why we're making more is simply because we're running out


The Energy Department is moving to resume production of plutonium-238 as an energy source for spacecraft and some national security activities because existing supplies will be gone in five years.


Just for subz:


Plutonium-238 is not used for nuclear weapons



posted on Jun, 28 2005 @ 09:13 AM
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Originally posted by ThatsJustWeird
Don't worry about subz kenshiro, most people like him don't even bother reading the articles before making statements like that.

Excuse me? Do we know what isotope of Uranium the Iranians are enriching? Not all forms of enriched Uranium are capable of producing a nuclear explosion. Why is it that American plutonium enrichment is above suspicion because they say they are only enriching 238? Oh yeah, we can take the American government on their word whereas everything the Iranian government says is a lie.

And just for the record I did not realise Plutonium 238 was incompatible with nuclear weapons and I thank Kenshiro for pointing it out



posted on Jun, 28 2005 @ 12:03 PM
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Enriching radioactive elements and producing nuclear weapons are not the same thing anyway. So if you believe the Iranians, you can't logically assume the the US's enrichment program is automatically for the purpose of building weapons.

Alternatively, what you did was defend the Iranian's enrichment program as legitimate while condemning the US program as an automatic violation of the non-proliferation treaty.

Honestly, your argument sounded like anti-american biased illogic. I think you have to pick a side -- is the enrichment of radioactive material always bad or not?



posted on Jun, 28 2005 @ 01:28 PM
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Double post?


see below post

[edit on 28-6-2005 by ThatsJustWeird]



posted on Jun, 28 2005 @ 01:34 PM
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Originally posted by subz
Excuse me? Do we know what isotope of Uranium the Iranians are enriching? Not all forms of enriched Uranium are capable of producing a nuclear explosion.

Uranium 235.
I suppose you can use other isotopes, but that's typically the main one used in nuclear reactors.

....it's also what you use to make nuclear weapons...

Edit: This will explain it better
en.wikipedia.org...

235U is typically the main fissile material for nuclear power reactors. Either 235U or 239Pu are used for making nuclear weapons. The process produces huge quantities of uranium that is depleted of 235U and with a correspondingly increased fraction of 238U, called depleted uranium or "DU". To be considered to be 'depleted', the 235U isotope concentration has to have been decreased to significantly less than 0.711% (by weight). Typically the amount of 235U left in depleted uranium is 0.2% to 0.3%. This represents anywhere from 28% to 42% of the original fraction of 235U.

Given that the half life of 235U is considerably shorter than 238U, the "depleted" uranium is still significantly radioactive as is the natural uranium after refining.




Why is it that American plutonium enrichment is above suspicion because they say they are only enriching 238? Oh yeah, we can take the American government on their word whereas everything the Iranian government says is a lie.


No one said anything about anyone lying...

Why is it "above suspicion"?
Well, we're running out of 238, we need more 238. We're not running out of 239....so why would they lie and make more 239 when we really need 238?


And just for the record I did not realise Plutonium 238 was incompatible with nuclear weapons and I thank Kenshiro for pointing it out

That's why I said people like you tend to jump to conclusions (which usually are negative toward America and/or the American government) without even reading the whole article or getting the whole story first.

[edit on 28-6-2005 by ThatsJustWeird]

[edit on 28-6-2005 by ThatsJustWeird]



posted on Jun, 28 2005 @ 03:20 PM
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Originally posted by Centrist
Enriching radioactive elements and producing nuclear weapons are not the same thing anyway. So if you believe the Iranians, you can't logically assume the the US's enrichment program is automatically for the purpose of building weapons.

Well duh, that was the point. My point was that we're all meant to believe the Americans when they say their enrichment is not tied to nuclear weapons production but when the Iranians say the same thing they are painted as liars.

Originally posted by Centrist
Alternatively, what you did was defend the Iranian's enrichment program as legitimate while condemning the US program as an automatic violation of the non-proliferation treaty.

Nice try buddy. Where did I defend Irans enrichment program? Quote me. I said if Iranian enrichment is against the NPT then American enrichment should be against the NPT.


Originally posted by Centrist
Honestly, your argument sounded like anti-american biased illogic. I think you have to pick a side -- is the enrichment of radioactive material always bad or not?

R-R-A-T#5

Care to show me your rationale for that assertion? I wont hold my breath.




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