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mgb_phys
#13
Feb11-08, 06:34 PM
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Quote Quote by f95toli View Post
However, as far as I understand the problem with reprocessing is that it requires more or less the same type of plants as are used for enrichment (it is basically isotope separation)
Nope it's basically chemical - you remove the waste products that you don't want, you aren't trying to extract pure U235. The technology to enrich U has nothing to do with reactors it's more precison machining.

which just brings us back to my main point about the security issues (I am not usally paranoid, but having a lot of enriched uranium floating around makes me nervious, even if it is only reactor-grade).
Reactor fuel is a pretty useless starting point for a weapon. The same non-proliferation treaty that we keep going on about says that we (nice safe countries with nuclear weapons) are supposed to provide the uranium for them in return for them not trying to play with the stuff themselves.

but the drawback is that there would be a LOT of fission reactors around; many of them in poor countries and quite a few in places that are politically unstable. Remember that the worlds energy consumption is rapidly going up.
We don't seem to mind have high pressure gas pipelines or Methyl-cyanide plants in poor countries - presuably because an accident only effects the locals.

I wouldn't really have a problem with fission as a short term solution (i.e. replacing the current generation of reactors in countries that already have nuclear power)
So India, Pakistan, South Africa, Brazil are allowed them but Switzerland, Holland, Germany, Sweden aren't.
The only country I can think of that built nuclear power plants primarily for power rather than weapons research is Canada.

if it wasn't for the fact that it is likely to kill off all funding to research into viable -but in the short term very expensive- alternatives such as fusion.
Fusion + short term + viable - aren't often used in the same sentance.