AW: [ RadSafe ] Fast neutron reactors

chris.hofmeyr at chris.hofmeyr at
Fri Dec 5 04:26:57 CST 2008

If I remember correctly, this (Pu) breeding scenario was mentioned by a
venerable researcher of MPI for Plasma Physics in Garching, Germany in
connection with the possible economy (or lack thereof) of a fusion
reactor.  This goes back about two decades and I do not recall whether
tritium breeding from lithium was mentioned in the same context. Was it
Edward Teller that said there was no danger of a significant fusion
reaction (in a fusion reactor), at best there was a faint hope!  Solid
researchers were in awe of the material damage problems to e.g. vessel
walls posed by envisaged neutron fluxes in a fusion reactor.  Applications
are probably not foremost in the minds of fusion researchers.

I think Steven has neatly answered your query to me. I used 'criminal
neglect' in an academic rather than legal sense, and did not imply only
the USA.
President Carter's nuclear policies (1977-81) were mainly driven by fear
of proliferation and he stopped work on reprocessing and discouraged work
on breeder type reactors, arguing that conventional thermal reactor
technology is adequate. Pressure was put onto research reactors to convert
to lower enrichment, etc.  See, e.g.

Chris Hofmeyr
chofmeyr at

> Dec 3.  Douglas Minnema wrote

>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

> Dec. 4
>          Chris Hofmeyr probably refers to the Carter administration
> because
> Carter is the president who shut down re-processing.  No, not all "criminal
> negligence" occurs in the US of A.  My guess is that criminal negligence is
> ubiquitous.
> Steven Dapra
> At 05:32 PM 12/4/08 +1100, Brent Rogers wrote:
>>I'm a little bit confused as to why the marker would be "since the
>>presidency".  Isn't there a "rest of the world" that does research, or
>>all criminal negligence owned by the USA?  Or perhaps you're implying
>>whole world has been criminally negligent on this issue since 1980 but
>> were
>>just fuzzy on the dates?
>>Brent Rogers
>>Sydney Australia
>>-----Original Message-----

>>Cc: radsafe at
>>Subject: Re: AW: [ RadSafe ] Fast neutron reactors
>>Rainer and others,
>>I agree that research on fast neutron reactors and also the Th cycle
>>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.

>>chofmeyr at

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