[ RadSafe ] Graphite moderated reactors

JGinniver at aol.com JGinniver at aol.com
Fri Nov 11 12:17:25 CST 2005

I think its a little to late to worry about such things.  As I  understand it 
the North Korean plutonium producing reactor(s?) is based on the  first 
generation of UK Magnox power plants i.e Calder Hall.  The basic data  for these 
has been widely published over the years.  Much of IRAQs weapons  programme was 
based on 1940s and 1950s technology which was again easily  available if you 
wanted to look.  I believe that the weapons inspectors  couldn't understand 
what one large building was for until it was shown to a US  national who pointed 
out that it was exactly the same size and shape as the  early US gaseous 
diffusion plants.  However as I understand it the real  risk of nuclear weapon 
proliferation lies with gaseous centrifuge technology as  this is small, easy to 
hide and doesn't require a large supporting  infrastructure.  Construction 
Plutonium producing reactors are difficult to  hide unless you try and conceal 
them behind commercial power production, hence  the need for very strong 
international safeguards on commercial power production  and reprocessing.  Uranium 
weapons are considered to be inferior to Pu ones  and gaseous diffusion plants 
are expensive to construct and operate and  difficult to conceal.  Hence the 
reason why almost all countries in recent  years who have tried to have an 
illict nuclear arms capability have relied on  the gaseous centrifuge technology 
stolen by AQ Khan (?) for pakistan and  distributed to a number of other 
countries by him.

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