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Uranium versus plutonium

  1. Jun 14, 2008 #1
    pros and cons of using uranium 235 or plutonium 239 in an atomic bomb?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 14, 2008 #2
    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.
     
  4. Jun 14, 2008 #3

    vanesch

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  5. Jun 17, 2008 #4
    oops i meant to say uranium 234 and plutonium 239. also what is the costs of each.
     
  6. Jun 17, 2008 #5

    vanesch

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    :uhh: what are you supposed to do with U-234 ?
     
  7. Jun 17, 2008 #6

    put it in an atomic bomb?
    what do u mean?
     
  8. Jun 17, 2008 #7

    mgb_phys

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    U 234 doesn't go bang - it's a relatively innocuous alpha emitter.
     
  9. Jun 18, 2008 #8
  10. Jun 18, 2008 #9
    yes i meant to say u-235.
     
  11. Jun 18, 2008 #10

    vanesch

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    Which is what you said initially...:wink:
     
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