20 February 2006

Last Word on Nuclear Power

Patrick Henry: My understanding is that the terrible thing is that the waste from uranium reactors is plutonium, not harmless gunk. Is this correct?

Doctor Thomas: High level waste from uranium reactors includes plutonium, it is nasty stuff and has a half-life of the order of 24 thousand years. In principle, plutonium wasted from uranium reactors can be reprocessed to be made suitable as fuel for a "fast" reactor. (Then there would be a lot more than twenty years global supply of nuclear energy, as there is for uranium). Unfortunately reprocessed plutonium is not something that we would like to have a lot of around - unless you can trust private waste contractors not to accidentally lose it. It is weapons grade and probably worth lots of bananas on the unofficial arms market.


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