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From: John De Armond
Subject: Re: Tainted Plutonium? (was Re: Greenpeace and nuclear power)
Message-ID: <>
Date: Mon, 30 Nov 92 19:33:41 GMT

rnoguchi@phoenix.Princeton.EDU (Ryan Alexander Noguchi) writes:

>Does anyone have any references in scientific or policy journals
>(i.e. preferably neither newspapers nor pulp magazines like Time)
>which support the tacit assumptions made in this group which include:

>1)	Current and *anticipated* spent fuel reprocessing methods
>	will necessarily produce Pu239 with a substantial fraction of
>	Pu240 or other diluents which would reduce its effectiveness
>	in a nuclear weapon of a non-futuristic design;

>2)	The Pu239/240 enrichment procedure is substantially more
>	difficult to perform than U238/235 enrichment, given that
>	one needs perform the enrichment only far enough to get a
>	ratio suitable for a nuclear weapon of a non-futuristic
>	design (i.e. not necessarily ~0.7% -> ~90% for U235);

Let's try it again.  You are conversing with the some of the same experts in
this group who you would read in any of a number of journals.  In my case,
I've spent most of my career working in the field.  If our telling you
something is inadequate, tough.  We're not going to do your homework for you.
If you insist on reading it off a piece of paper, either print out the
articles or visit your library.  I presume Princeton still has an adequate
technical library.

As to separating Pu isotopes, we've already addressed this at length.
To summarize, it is considered by most experts (ME included)
to be impossible for the following reasons:

*	There is no known gaseous form of Pu at reasonable temperatures, an analog
	to uranium hexafloride.  This is considered vital for any kind of
	separation other than mass spec (micrograms at a time) or maybe one
	day laser.

*	The two isotopes are only one AMU apart.  That makes the job MANY more
	times more difficult than U-235/238 separation.  Perhaps you think
	that scaling the gasseous diffusion plant by a factor of 3 or so is
	trivial.  Perhaps you'll reconsider if you ever actually see the plant.

>I have/had references which I believe refuted all three of these, and
>they were the basis for my assertion.  I'm still trying to dredge them
>up, though they may be out of date and in any case I would appreciate
>additional references for my personal research and edification.

Perhaps you should spend the time you now spend arguing in an area where you
have no expertise over at the library doing your own research.


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