It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.

Please white-list or disable in your ad-blocking tool.

Thank you.


Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.


U.S. Has Plans to Again Make Own Plutonium

page: 1

log in


posted on Jun, 27 2005 @ 01:04 PM
Why don't we use the fuel in our exisiting weapons or the fuel stored in our waste sites?

I just don't understand why we need more?

Have we used up what we have?

I thought under the START agreement with the commies we could not make any more new boomers?

I am confused!

The Bush administration's plan to produce plutonium 238 is stirring debate over the risks and benefits of the deadly material.

Federal officials say the program would produce a total of 150 kilograms (330 pounds) over 30 years at the Idaho National Laboratory, a sprawling site outside Idaho Falls some 100 miles to the west and upwind of Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming. Officials say the program could cost $1.5 billion and generate more than 50,000 drums of hazardous and radioactive waste.

log in is required for the times site.

posted on Jun, 27 2005 @ 06:14 PM
Posted on ATSNN and ATS.

posted on Jun, 27 2005 @ 06:32 PM
They need Pu 238 which isn't the bomb making stuff, that's Pu 239.

Pu 238 is more radioactive and gets nice and hot, making it an ideal power source.

The Russians normally sell us their surplus, but there is an agreement we had to sign that prevents us from using it in any military capacity, and espionage devices fall in that realm.

They are only talking about what, 300 pounds or so over many years, t'aint nothing at all, very small fries.

posted on Jun, 28 2005 @ 01:34 AM
It's for nuclear powered spacecraft and matters of homeland security.

posted on Jun, 29 2005 @ 11:20 PM
question: what is plutonium????

posted on Jun, 30 2005 @ 03:13 AM

Originally posted by russiankid
question: what is plutonium????

Uranium & Plutonium

Uranium-235 is very difficult to extract. In fact, for every 25,000 tons of Uranium ore that is mined from the earth, only 50 tons of Uranium metal can be refined from that, and 99.3% of that metal is U-238 which is too stable to be used as an active agent in an atomic detonation. To make matters even more complicated, no ordinary chemical extraction can separate the two isotopes since both U-235 and U-238 possess precisely identical chemical characteristics. The only methods that can effectively separate U-235 from U-238 are mechanical methods.

U-235 is slightly, but only slightly, lighter than its counterpart, U-238. A system of gaseous diffusion is used to begin the separating process between the two isotopes. In this system, Uranium is combined with fluorine to form Uranium Hexafluoride gas. This mixture is then propelled by low- pressure pumps through a series of extremely fine porous barriers. Because the U-235 atoms are lighter and thus propelled faster than the U-238 atoms, they could penetrate the barriers more rapidly. As a result, the U-235's concentration became successively greater as it passed through each barrier. After passing through several thousand barriers, the Uranium Hexafluoride contains a relatively high concentration of U-235 -- 2% pure Uranium in the case of reactor fuel, and if pushed further could (theoretically) yield up to 95% pure Uranium for use in an atomic bomb.

Once the process of gaseous diffusion is finished, the Uranium must be refined once again. Magnetic separation of the extract from the previous enriching process is then implemented to further refine the Uranium. This involves electrically charging Uranium Tetrachloride gas and directing it past a weak electromagnet. Since the lighter U-235 particles in the gas stream are less affected by the magnetic pull, they can be gradually separated from the flow.

Following the first two procedures, a third enrichment process is then applied to the extract from the second process. In this procedure, a gas centrifuge is brought into action to further separate the lighter U-235 from its heavier counter-isotope. Centrifugal force separates the two isotopes of Uranium by their mass. Once all of these procedures have been completed, all that need be done is to place the properly molded components of Uranium-235 inside a warhead that will facilitate an atomic detonation.

Supercritical mass for Uranium-235 is defined as 110 lbs (50 kgs) of pure Uranium.

Depending on the refining process(es) used when purifying the U-235 for use, along with the design of the warhead mechanism and the altitude at which it detonates, the explosive force of the A-bomb can range anywhere from 1 kiloton (which equals 1,000 tons of TNT) to 20 megatons (which equals 20 million tons of TNT -- which, by the way, is the smallest strategic nuclear warhead we possess today. [Point in fact -- One Trident Nuclear Submarine carries as much destructive power as 25 World War II's]).

While Uranium is an ideally fissionable material, it is not the only one. Plutonium can be used in an atomic bomb as well. By leaving U-238 inside an atomic reactor for an extended period of time, the U-238 picks up extra particles (neutrons especially) and gradually is transformed into the element Plutonium.

Plutonium is fissionable, but not as easily fissionable as Uranium. While Uranium can be detonated by a simple 2-part gun-type device, Plutonium must be detonated by a more complex 32-part implosion chamber along with a stronger conventional explosive, a greater striking velocity and a simultaneous triggering mechanism for the conventional explosive packs. Along with all of these requirements comes the additional task of introducing a fine mixture of Beryllium and Polonium to this metal while all of these actions are occurring.

Supercritical mass for Plutonium is defined as 35.2 lbs (16 kgs). This amount needed for a supercritical mass can be reduced to a smaller quantity of 22 lbs (10 kgs) by surrounding the Plutonium with a U-238 casing.

To illustrate the vast difference between a Uranium gun-type detonator and a Plutonium implosion detonator, here is a quick rundown.

posted on Jun, 30 2005 @ 04:14 AM
you mean 20 Kilotons not 20 megatons - no fission weapon has ever been anywhere near 1 megaton , let alone 20!!

posted on Jun, 30 2005 @ 04:19 AM

Originally posted by Harlequin
you mean 20 Kilotons not 20 megatons - no fission weapon has ever been anywhere near 1 megaton , let alone 20!!

i just posted the article.

yeah your right never heard a fission weapon ever had more than 1megaton.

posted on Jun, 30 2005 @ 04:24 AM

[edit on 30-6-2005 by donquad2001]

posted on Jul, 3 2005 @ 08:55 PM
Yes but they were FUSION weapons, the guys were talking about the biggest FISSION weapon.

Big difference.

new topics

top topics


log in