It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.
Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.
Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.
Most importantly, thorium doesn't convert into plutonium—precisely the opposite, in fact. That is, the process consumes plutonium. We could be looking at a means of not only halting the growth American nuclear waste sites but actually reducing our stores of plutonium while simultaneously reducing the danger of nuclear proliferation. Sure, the thorium system does create waste of i's own, but irradiated thorium doesn't oxidize and remains more stable as it decays. What more could you want?
In the midst of the tritium research and Paul’s inability to buy it in the state where he worked, he accidentally stumbled upon a curious phenomenon in a nuclear handbook. As he looked down a long list of radioactive isotopes which are all made in nuclear reactors, Paul noticed that if he could remove one neutron from their nuclei, he would transmute each of them into a very-short-lived isotope. This discovery made him very excited and for the next few years, Paul started testing this theory. Not only was it true but the government apparently knew about it right after WW II. (Many scientific labs around the world subsequently confirmed the viability of the photoremediation--Hypercon process.) Why bury nuclear waste and endanger everyone nearby for thousands of years, Paul asked, when he could apply photoremediation (using low energy X-rays) and generate electricity too? As another company was formed and started to bring this invention to where Nuclear Solutions is today, Paul and his family had to survive a National Security Agency campout at their home for an extended period of time. The NSA kept threatening him and his family with "bringing in the van" if they didn't cooperate. When one young company employee asked an NSA agent what would happen if they just posted the information about nuclear waste treatment on the web in spite of any NSA controls, the agent responded, "We will kill you." (Paul's wife who was there has also confirmed this quote.) In terror, they could only imagine whether they would live through the interrogation experience or not. It was fortunate, as Paul told me later, that he made phone calls to at least one or more high level government friends, including one who had connections with the CIA. The intercession between Paul and the NSA, that was facilitated by the third party, was crucial to allowing Paul and his company to continue with their completely peaceful intention of eliminating nuclear waste.
Nearly half of Ontario's nuclear waste is on the Bruce Power site, and CEO Duncan Hawthorne is not entirely in favour of burying it, especially the highly radioactive fuel rods, which he believes could be recycled.
"In my entire career in the U.K. we took our fuel out of the reactor, we put it in a fuel flask and we transported it...where it got re-processed and it was a very routine matter. Frankly it’s North America that’s out of step with the rest of the world."
I was wondering how come nuclear waste can't be recycled for other means like fuel, or thrown back into a fusion or fission reactor of some sort to do something with it. Surely if they can synthesize uranium or turn lead into gold, they can do something about nuclear waste right? I know, turning lead into gold takes a very, very long time to do...
I have a textbook sitting here about nuclear reactors and stuff like that, just because I felt like it (it was free) but the math is beyond my comprehension so I have no idea what they are trying to say in here. So what exactly is holding us back from recycling nuclear waste?
Weapons-grade uranium and plutonium surplus to military requirements in the USA and Russia is being made available for use as civil fuel.
Weapons-grade uranium is highly enriched, to over 90% U-235 (the fissile isotope). Weapons-grade plutonium has over 93% Pu-239 and can be used, like reactor-grade plutonium, in fuel for electricity production.
Highly-enriched uranium from weapons stockpiles has been displacing some 9720 tonnes of U3O8 production from mines each year, and meets about 13% of world reactor requirements through to 2013.
For more than four decades concern has centred on the possibility that uranium intended for commercial nuclear power might be diverted for use in weapons. Today, however, attention is focused on the role of military uranium as a major source of fuel for commercial nuclear power.
Since 1987 the United States and countries of the former USSR have signed a series of disarmament treaties to reduce the nuclear arsenals by about 80%.
Nuclear materials declared surplus to military requirements by the USA and Russia are now being converted into fuel for commercial nuclear reactors. With the disintegration of the Soviet Union a unique opportunity arose to deploy military weapons material for making electricity. A 1993 agreement covered essentially the enrichment component of this material, but left unresolved the question of feed from mines, and a 1999 agreement dealt with what happened to the feed material.
The main weapons material is highly enriched uranium (HEU), containing at least 20% uranium-235 (U-235) and usually about 90% U-235.
HEU can be blended down with uranium containing low levels of U-235 to produce low enriched uranium (LEU), typically less than 5% U-235, fuel for power reactors. It is blended with depleted uranium (mostly U-238), natural uranium (0.7% U-235), or partially-enriched uranium.
Highly-enriched uranium in US and Russian weapons and other military stockpiles amounts to about 2000 tonnes, equivalent to about twelve times annual world mine production.
World stockpiles of weapons-grade plutonium are reported to be some 260 tonnes, which if used in mixed oxide fuel in conventional reactors would be equivalent to a little over one year's world uranium production. Military plutonium can blended with uranium oxide to form mixed oxide (MOX) fuel.
After LEU or MOX is burned in power reactors, the spent fuel is not suitable for weapons manufacture.