British Plutonium

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by Ritch, Sep 21, 2007.

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  1. Was just scanning through Teletext ( Yes, you can laugh but there's bugger all on TV ) and saw something about Britain possessing enough Plutonium to make 17,000 nuclear bomb's. Is this an exaggeration do you think or do we really possess that amount?

    I find it two faced how Britain is pushing for nuclear disarmament but is increasing its Nuclear stockpile. I know the rogue countries need disarming but its just my opinion that Britain is being two faced.

  2. I am under the impression that this is a bi product of our nuclear power industry.

    Correct me if i'm wrong of course.

    As an aside, if I was chancellor I could see a nice little earner here though....
  3. I got the impression that this wasn't from our nuclear industry. Just made specifically for nukes.
  4. Sellafield.
  5. Are we two faced? The Government's clear position is that we need a nuclear deterrent, both now and in the future. We, and the other nuclear powers, are democracies where an elected government controls the military and, hence, the use of nuclear weapons. There are other countries without elected governments which are trying to obtain nuclear weapons which will not be subject to such controls. Stop sniggering at the back, Jones!

    We have been producing plutonium for the last 50+ years, so there must be a fair amount around. If I was really clever and it wasn't late, I would track down the chemical reaction for making plutonium! But it has a pretty long half-life, so once manufactured, it tends to hang around and be recycled into other bombs.

    Do you sleep safely in your bed at night? Have you done so for the last 50-odd years? That might have a lot to do with the nuclear deterrent.


  6. *Tries to find a response...*
  7. Its a nuclear reaction that produces it so if you discover the Philosophers Stone give us a shout and we can go halfers :D :D As well as use in weapons plutonium is also used in reactors as fuel but isn't totally consumed and lots of work is going into how to get rid of it by speeding up the nuclear reaction process (transmutation).
  8. Just how has the UK increased its "nuclear stockpile"? We may have a few tonnes of plute locked up in THORP, but that is a long way from "17,000" bombs.

    It makes excellent nuclear fuel. If only we had a government with the balls to start building fission power reactors
  9. cpunk

    cpunk LE Moderator

    The material they're referring to is a by-product of the reprocessing of nuclear waste. As I understand it, you could make nuclear weapons from it but they wouldn't be very good. The worry is that it might get somehow unleashed into the environment or nabbed by terrorists who could make a dirty bomb of some sort. If I'm honest, I'm not losing a lot of sleep over this at the moment.
  10. Correct CPUNK - to make nucs you would need to reprocess the spent fuel - not that easy.
  11. I think some news agencies have over played this a little,

    this is as IT-Guy has already stated, a bi product of the energy industry, where fission rods have gone below there usefull half life.

    in its current state these rods are not enriched enough to create a nuclear warhead as such.

    the main concerns are mainly security related, and the ability of the wrong person getting their hands on this material and creating a dirty bomb, which in itself is nasty enough.

    I think it is correct to flag it up because there probably should be some more steps taken to securely deplete this material out of harms way.
  12. sorry cpunk, rickshaw major

    ive pretty much just repeated you, i should have read it DOH!!
  13. If that's the worst thing that happens to you today its not a bad day :D
  14. I am no expert on Nuclear Physics,however, IFIRC Plutonium is in essense a man made element that is a by product of Uranium that has been used in the power stations.
    It is no coincidence that when Nuclear power stations were in their ascendency in the 50`s and 60`s ,that the type of reactor installed was the one that gave Plutonium out in abundence.
    Arms race over,loads of Plutonium going spare.

    I stand by to be corrected if the above was all a dream