Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Hans Bethe's views

  1. Jul 6, 2005 #1


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Gold Member
    Dearly Missed

    Just published:http://www.arxiv.org/abs/physics/0507043

    From the abstract
    Bethe of course was the world famous, Nobel winning physicst who died at an advanced age a few weeks ago. He was head of the computation division at Los Alamos during the development of the atom bomb, and Feynmann worked for him there.
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2005
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 6, 2005 #2


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor

    Th-232 can be used in a thermal breeder to produce U-233, and U-238 is converted to Pu-239 (with subsequent production of Pu-240, 241, 242 and Am-241,242,243, Cm-244). Actinide burning is a possibility.
  4. Jul 7, 2005 #3


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Dearly Missed


    I don't see Bethe's solution as solving the proliferation problem - and neither
    did the International Nuclear Fuel Cycle Evaluation study of the late 70s,
    early 80s.

    I think the solution lies with concepts like Argonne's Integral Fast Reactor;
    the IFR:


    The IFR concept allow on-site reprocessing - so that the weapons-grade
    material never leaves the high radiation portion of the power plant.

    Additionally, as Dr. Till states; the IFR concept doesn't separate the
    weapons useable material from other "stuff" that makes the creation
    of a weapon with that material impossible.

    The IFR is a breeder; so it makes potential use of all the Uranium
    available, both U-238 and U-235; and not just the fissile U-235.

    The IFR address proliferation concerns - the Plutonium created is never
    separated from "stuff" that makes the use of that Plutonium in a weapon

    The IFR is "inherently-safe" or "passively-safe" - it doesn't rely on
    engineered safeguards like emergency pumps to guarantee safety.
    It relies on the Laws of Physics; which always work.

    It really is too bad that Clinton cancelled this project in 1994 to
    appease the anti-nuclear crowd.

    Dr. Gregory Greenman
  5. Jul 7, 2005 #4


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Gold Member
    Dearly Missed

    I thoroughly agree with you doctor. Without your expertise, I have been a proponent of the IFR for years, as my old posts on PF will show. I just thought it was interesting to see what Bethe, for whom I have the greatest respect, thought about it. Maybe the thoughts retailed in the paper were from before the IFR design was developed.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook