What is the link between nuclear weapons and nuclear power stations?

by strongmotive
Tags: nuclear, power, stations, weapons
Astronuc is offline
Sep21-08, 08:11 PM
Astronuc's Avatar
P: 21,634
Yellow cake (oxide) is converted to UF6, which is used in centrifuges where is is a gas. Enriched UF6 (that is up to 4.95% U-235) is sent to commercial nuclear fuel plants where it is converted into an oxide, ultimately in the form of ceramic pellets which are then encapsulated in Zr-alloy cylindrical tubing, and hermetically sealed with Zr-alloy endplugs (Zr-alloy barstock).

For the naval program, the enrichment is much higher, and that value is classified. Naval reactor fuel is quite different from commercial fuel.

Nuclear weapons are predominantly based on Pu-239 which is produced from U-238 in special production reactors, which are not necessarily fast breeder reactors.

U-235 based weapons have been phased out.
Utwig is offline
Sep22-08, 06:06 AM
P: 15

Yep, I have no doubt plutonium can be made in other kinds of reactor, but I've only really ever had experience with the breeder type, and pressurised water kind. I could have put down a lot more detail, but was really only trying to highlight the link between commercial power generation and instant sunshine machines in layman's terms.

My personal fave was he pressurised water reactor, during the time I was involved with them we refuelled 2 boats and pulled the solid relief's out of 4 more. Its amazing how small the reactor actually is, once you pull all the boron impregnated polythene off one its not much longer than a family car and maybe about half a meter in diameter. Stunning how something so small can put out so much heat. It wasn't often we had to enter a reactor space while the pile was in plant state A but the odd time we did, if the blowers were not on it was uber hot. Oh, incidentally the exp with breeders didn't involve working on them but was more along the lines of getting the monitoring certification completed.



Register to reply

Related Discussions
Nuclear Generating Stations Nuclear Engineering 0
Nuclear weapons and Uranium Nuclear Engineering 6
Do Nuclear Weapons Need to be Tested? Nuclear Engineering 10
Iran and nuclear weapons Current Events 10