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U.S. of A. is resuming production for "secret missions'.

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posted on Jun, 27 2005 @ 10:36 AM

"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.

"The real reason we're starting production is for national security," Frazier was quoted as saying.

Officials at the Energy Department could not be reached for comment.

The program, which the newspaper said had raised concerns among environmentalists, would produce 330 pounds (150 kg) over 30 years at the Idaho National Laboratory. The program could cost $1.5 billion and generate over 50,000 drums of hazardous and radioactive waste, federal officials told the Times.

Plutonium 238 is hundreds of times more radioactive than plutonium 239, which is used in nuclear arms, according to the newspaper. Medical experts say inhaling even a speck posed a serious risk of lung cancer, the Times said.

The newspaper said plutonium 238 had no central role in nuclear arms, but was valued for its steady heat that could be turned into electricity. Nuclear batteries made from it power spacecraft to go where sunlight is too dim to energize solar cells.

Federal and private experts not connected to the project were quoted as saying the new plutonium would likely power devices for espionage under the sea and on land"

so wat do u dink people? i have two theories for this, either to use for mininukes or to be used as nuclear enegy as Bush proposed for more nuclear power plants. in anicase anibody have better theories im open minded for that.

posted on Jun, 27 2005 @ 10:44 AM
Since Pultonium 238 although is more radioactive than Plutonium 239. 238 is used for thermoelectric generators I would be more inclined to the belief that the production will be for more military satelites as well as some of the proposed extraplanetary probes that are presently being worked on.

posted on Jun, 27 2005 @ 11:14 AM
It is also possible it will be used to power underwater listening devices for countering silent diesel submarines now being used in shallow littoral waters by Russia and now China. We are currenly using LFA (Low Frequency Active Sonar) which has a tendency to disrupt some animal life and can be seen as aggressive use of sonar. Who knows?

posted on Jun, 27 2005 @ 11:34 AM
as soon as this story broke I immediately thought of devices like the RTG systems that are used in space probes. Here's what's odd, though: Military sats in orbit should be able to run off of solar power alone.

So, as someone else suggested, I can't help but wonder if the government is creating a secret class of space probes... I also wonder if, like the article implied, this might be something that's being set aside for underwater listening devices. Other possibilities: Power for unmanned high altitude blimps or power for small underground stations.

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