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Homework Help: How do Nuclear Submarines work in the James Bond movie

  1. Sep 2, 2005 #1
    I was watching a movie the other day, 007: The World is Not Enough
    In the movie a well known terrorist, Renard, stole weapons grade plutonium. He sent 6 Kilos to waste on Elektra's pipeline, and the other 6 Kilos he is going to use in a Nuclear submarines reactor.

    I just wanted to know, what would happen if he was to insert the tube into the subs reactor and why would plutonium cause an "Instand catostrophic meltdown" and uranium not?
    And on the similar subject, how do Nuclear subs work?
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 2, 2005 #2
    Did they say Uranium would not, or are you just assuming? Most Uranium is U-238, which isn't weapons grade. I think you need 90-something percent U-235 for it to be weapons grade. Also, the critical mass may be different (Plutonium is 244).
  4. Sep 2, 2005 #3
    Yes, I was assuming... I'm only 15, so I don't know everything about weapons grade and all. I assume that "Weapons Grade" means out of the ground, cleaned and ready to blow.
  5. Sep 2, 2005 #4
    Yes, I'm not too sure either (I myself, am 17). However, I think it has something to do with the critical mass of Uranium vs. Plutonium.

    By the way, plutonium is found in minute traces naturally, thus it is all synthetically created. So when it comes to weapons grade in that sense, it is made that way.
  6. Sep 2, 2005 #5
    I think it is almost safe to say that a nuclear sub works like a nuclear reactor. If this is the case, then adding plutonium (which is likely to be unstable) will cause more fissions in the reactor, and at a greater rate. The sub would blow up, along with the pipe lines that are the competing 3 Russian oil companies. The radiation would mean that Elecktra's pipe would be the only one and would mean she could charge as she likes.

    The Bob (2004 ©)
  7. Sep 5, 2005 #6
    another thing about that movie, How is highly enriched plutonium (weapons grade) safe? The villain hands the woman some of it, and assures her that it is safe to handle. The only thing that I can think of is that it is a coherent mass, and does not break off into small particles that can be inhaled or consumed, but can't free neutrons penetrate the skin anyway?
  8. Sep 5, 2005 #7
    I've heard it is "warm to the touch."
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