"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
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.