Why Extracting Plutonium from Nuclear Reactor Spent Fuel is a Bad Idea:

The Union Of Concerned Scientists says that “reprocessing would increase the risk of nuclear terrorism. Less than 20 pounds of plutonium is needed to make a nuclear weapon. If the plutonium remains bound in large, heavy, and highly radioactive spent fuel assemblies (the current U.S. practice), it is nearly impossible to steal. 


In contrast, separated plutonium is not highly radioactive and is stored in a concentrated powder form. Some claim that new reprocessing technologies that would leave the plutonium blended with other elements, such as neptunium, would result in a mixture that would be too radioactive to steal. This is incorrect; neither neptunium nor the other elements under consideration are radioactive enough to preclude theft. Most of these other elements are also weapon-usable.  

Moreover, commercial-scale reprocessing facilities handle so much of this material that it has proven impossible to keep track of it accurately in a timely manner, making it feasible that the theft of enough plutonium to build several bombs could go undetected for years.” 

For more information; go to

http://www.nirs.org/radwaste/reprocessing/ucsreprocessingfs0508.pdf

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