[ RadSafe ] Plutonium from Power Reactors what about the cost?

parthasarathy k s ksparth at yahoo.co.uk
Fri Apr 11 00:21:33 CDT 2008

Dear Professor Raabe,

 Right from the beginning India opted for "recycling" its spent fuel. The long term programme envisages breeders to take care of energy security. Right now a breeder is under construction. There is some criticism that India's progress is long on promise and short on performance!

One must consider the cost of the recycling route. Currently, as uranium is available relatively cheap, there is no incentive to recycle and make inventories of Pu for future use. We have to  factor in the cost of producing LeU if  you follow the PWR/BWR route.  Indian pro nuclear advocates used to argue that cost of plutonium gathered will be enough for waste management. The economics of the options appears to be tantalizingly confusing!


----- Original Message ----
From: Otto Raabe <ograabe at ucdavis.edu>
To: "Brennan, Mike  (DOH)" <Mike.Brennan at DOH.WA.GOV>; radsafe at radlab.nl
Sent: Friday, 11 April, 2008 3:34:22 AM
Subject: RE: [ RadSafe ] Plutonium from Power Reactors

At 11:23 AM 4/10/2008, Brennan, Mike  (DOH) wrote:
>Another factor is ease of separation.  It is way easier to separate
>elements than isotopes, which is one of the reasons that Pu-239/240 is
>more widely used in weapons than U-235 (there are other reasons, too).
>There are ways of constructing fuel and designing and operating reactors
>that produce more of the desired Pu isotopes and fewer of the undesired
>isotopes.  Commercial reactors, particularly ones that have to be shut
>down to have fuel rods removed from them, and tend to burn the fuel for
>a couple years, produce more of the undesirable Pu isotopes that are
>very difficult to remove from the desirable ones.
April 10, 2008

Dear Mike,

Electricity of France recycles nuclear fuel. (Apparently "recycle" 
sounds more environmentally friendly than "reprocess".) They seem to 
have worked out all the problems. Before Jimmy Carter shut down most 
of our nuclear programs 30 years ago, we were well on way to 
recycling fuel and even having a breeder reactor.  Can't we get back on track?

We have plenty of relatively cool old fuel rods being stored at 
nuclear plants around the country and I think we should not be 
burying them in Yucca Mountain or anywhere else.

In addition to recycling nuclear fuel, I believe that we should be 
constructing 400 new nuclear electrical generator stations since 
nuclear power is environmentally sound and we need to move away from 
fossil fuels.

With plentiful nuclear electricity we can produce hydrogen by 
electrolysis for use in electrical motor vehicles powered by fuel 
cells. That will get us off foreign oil and clean up our air 
pollution as well.

Sadly, our elected leaders are driven by widespread apprehension 
about nuclear power.


Prof. Otto G. Raabe, Ph.D., CHP
Center for Health & the Environment
University of California
One Shields Avenue
Davis, CA 95616
E-Mail: ograabe at ucdavis.edu
Phone: (530) 752-7754   FAX: (530) 758-6140  
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