[ RadSafe ] Centrifuges

Brennan, Mike (DOH) Mike.Brennan at DOH.WA.GOV
Mon Sep 19 11:54:11 CDT 2011

To the best of my knowledge, centrifuges aren't used when making a
plutonium based nuclear device.  Centrifuges are used to increase the
percentage of U235 compared to U238.  Each pass increase the
concentration only a small amount, and so to get to very high
concentrations you need a lot of passes.  If you want a lot of enriched
material, and you don't want to wait forever (and generally speaking,
leaders who decide they want a nuclear weapon are not overly patient).
Hence the need for a lot of centrifuges.  

On the other hand, I still think it is better that "the bad guys" fixate
on nuclear weapons rather than some of the easier, cheaper,

-----Original Message-----
From: radsafe-bounces at health.phys.iit.edu
[mailto:radsafe-bounces at health.phys.iit.edu] On Behalf Of
JPreisig at aol.com
Sent: Sunday, September 18, 2011 4:54 PM
To: radsafe at health.phys.iit.edu
Subject: [ RadSafe ] Centrifuges

Dear Radsafe:
      From:    _jpreisig at aol.com_ (mailto:jpreisig at aol.com)    .
      Hello all:
              Don't want to dwell on proliferation, but  what follows. I

think, needs to  be said.
           Some of the  smaller nations of the world, with nuclear
on hand, or are in the  process of
      building their first nuclear devices, seem  to need 100's or more 
centrifuges.  Hmmmm, actually, I think
      a small nation or a handful of  scientists/engineers (nowadays)
do some pretty severe
      U235 or Pu enrichment with 5-10 centrifuges  or less.  Probably
could have fewer centrifuges
      and round the clock shifts of people running  the centrifuges.
be careful out there.
            On an  unrelated topic, Health Physics scientific journal 
currently has a whole issue  on Chernobyl.
      Browse it, read it, etc, even the  geologists on radsafe.
            Have a  good week at work....
             Regards,      Joseph R. (Joe) Preisig, PhD
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