Home / Store / Journals / Electronic Articles / Fusion Science and Technology / Volume 27 / Number 3
W. M. Stagey, B. L. Pilger, J. A. Mowrey, D. G. Norris, M. Dietsghe, E. A. Hoffman, B. A. Abighedid, A. W. Anthony, M. S. Ayres, T. P. Belflower, J. D. Bohner, S. F. Gaputlu, H. M. Goward, H. M. Diller, J. A. Favorite, P. T. Feir, J. S. Gustafson, N. L. Jenkins, T. L. Johnston, J. L. Martin, C. H. Nahass, D. M. Nichter, D. F. Parker, R. A. Sidwell, A. L. Turner, J. D. Wartell
Fusion Science and Technology
Volume 27 / Number 3 / May 1995 / Pages 326-347
Format:electronic copy (download)
It is suggested that weapons-grade plutonium could be processed through a transmutation facility to build up sufficient actinide and fission product inventories to serve as a deterrent to diversion or theft during subsequent storage, pending eventual use as fuel in commercial nuclear reactors. A transmutation facility consisting of a tokamak fusion neutron source surrounded by fuel assemblies containing the weapons-grade plutonium in the form of PuO2 pebbles in a lithium slurry is investigated. A design concept/operation scenario is developed for a facility that would be able to transmute the world's estimated surplus inventory of weapons-grade plutonium to 11% 240Pu concentration in ∼25 yr. The fusion neutron source would be based on plasma physics and plasma support technology being qualified in ongoing research and development (R&D) programs, and the plutonium fuel would be based on existing technology. A new R&D program would be required to qualify a refractory metal alloy structural material that would be needed to handle the high heat fluxes; otherwise, extensions of existing technologies and acceleration of existing R&D programs would seem to be adequate to qualify all required technologies. Such a facility might feasibly be deployed in 20 to 30 yr, or sooner with a crash program.
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