Hans Bethe's views

  • #1
selfAdjoint
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Just published:http://www.arxiv.org/abs/physics/0507043

From the abstract
Bethe's view-point on the global energy problems is presented. Bethe claimed that the nuclear power is a necessity in future. Nuclear energetic must be based on breeder reactors. Bethe considered the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons as the main problem of long-range future of nuclear energetics. The solution of this problem he saw in heavy water moderated thermal breeders, using uranium-233, uranium-238 and thorium as a fuel
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.
 
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  • #2
Astronuc
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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.
 
  • #3
Morbius
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selfAdjoint said:
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.
selfAdjoint,

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:

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/reaction/interviews/till.html

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
impossible.

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
Physicist
 
  • #4
selfAdjoint
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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.
 

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