AW: [ RadSafe ] Fast neutron reactors

Douglas Minnema DouglasM at DNFSB.GOV
Wed Dec 3 12:24:47 CST 2008

I guess I've been out of the fusion business too long.  When I was studying it, the plan was to use the fast neutrons to breed tritium from lithium for more fusion fuel.  I don't recall any talk about breeding Pu for fission reactors.  What is your source, and when did this change?
Doug Minnema

>>> <chris.hofmeyr at> 12/3/2008 11:36 AM >>>

Rainer and others,
I agree that research on fast neutron reactors and also the Th cycle have
been criminally neglected since the Carter presidency.  Huge sums have
been spent on fusion research, although people in the field know full well
that early generations of such a concept, if they are at all realised,
will at best be copious (fast) neutron sources to be used for breeding -
you guessed it - Pu from e.g. DU, to be used in more conventional fission
reactors.  So much for the promise of 'clean' ans 'safe' fusion energy.
The availability of uranium at a reasonable cost is rather limited, so the
future of fission energy in the medium to longer term is dependent on
breeder technology to unlock the presently unused vast potential in
nuclear fuel.  We really need resources for the best brains to be able to
focus on an economic breeder programme with sufficient security
(preferably inherent) to prevent pilfering of fissile material that can be
used for nefarious purposes.  This is a tall order, but surely much more
achievable than an economic fusion reactor.

Chris Hofmeyr

chofmeyr at 

Rainer Facius wrote:

> Jaro,
> it is agreed that many loose ends need to be fixed before the promises
> which fast neutron reactors hold can be reaped. But imagine how many of
> these problems might have been solved already in the last 25 years or so,
> which saw a total stalemate in the advancement of nuclear power
> technologies - or even regression as e.g. in case of the THTR-300 reactor
> in Hamm-Uentrop, Germany. And imagine the state of technology if the money
> allocated to the fusion reactor had been available instead for such more
> realistic R&D.
> Best regards, Rainer
> ________________________________

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