Uranium versus plutonium

  • Thread starter brandy
  • Start date
  • #1
161
0

Main Question or Discussion Point

pros and cons of using uranium 235 or plutonium 239 in an atomic bomb?
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
199
0
Plutonium bombs have the advantage that Pu-239 is available because it is made in the waste product of nuclear reactors and can easily be chemically reprocessed. However, the plutonium bomb design and construction is extremely difficult and precise. Plutonium is often contaminated by Pu-240, which is very reactive and decays before the chain reaction goes to completion. So to prevent this from happening, plutonium bombs use implosion. Explosives are detonated on all sides of a mass of Pu to compress it into a small "blob" where the three neutrons emitted can hit other Pu-239 atoms quickly and continue the chain reaction. But the explosions must be entirely balanced and uniform to implode the Pu properly and successfully detonate a Plutonium bomb.
 
  • #3
vanesch
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Gold Member
5,028
16
  • #4
161
0
oops i meant to say uranium 234 and plutonium 239. also what is the costs of each.
 
  • #5
vanesch
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Gold Member
5,028
16
oops i meant to say uranium 234
:uhh: what are you supposed to do with U-234 ?
 
  • #6
161
0
:uhh: what are you supposed to do with U-234 ?

put it in an atomic bomb?
what do u mean?
 
  • #7
mgb_phys
Science Advisor
Homework Helper
7,774
12
put it in an atomic bomb?
what do u mean?
U 234 doesn't go bang - it's a relatively innocuous alpha emitter.
 
  • #8
537
0
Not to mention the fact that U-234 is 0.0055% of natural uranium. This means take 1000 kg of pure uranium, and only 55 grams of it is U-234. You're better off making a bomb out of the U235 you have. Plus it has a horrible fission cross section http://wwwndc.tokai-sc.jaea.go.jp/cgi-bin/Tab80WWW.cgi?/data/JENDL/JENDL-3.3prc/intern/U234.intern [Broken].
 
Last edited by a moderator:
  • #9
161
0
yes i meant to say u-235.
 
  • #10
vanesch
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Gold Member
5,028
16
yes i meant to say u-235.
Which is what you said initially...:wink:
 

Related Threads for: Uranium versus plutonium

  • Last Post
2
Replies
44
Views
29K
Replies
4
Views
4K
Replies
2
Views
9K
  • Last Post
Replies
2
Views
3K
  • Last Post
Replies
13
Views
13K
  • Last Post
Replies
3
Views
2K
  • Last Post
6
Replies
127
Views
21K
Replies
3
Views
3K
Top