Uranium Substitute Is No Longer Needed, but Its Disposal May Pose Security Risk

In the early 1950’s when the civilian nuclear age began many scientist were curious of how to make fuel for bombs. The government began to make a man made substitute for natural uranium. What they created was known as Uranium 233. It was used because it could be made in a reactor using a cheap and abundant radioactive metal that would produce more fuel than it had consumed.
Soon after the government decided to use natural Uranium because in the end it ended up being cheaper. Since the day the 233 was not used until today the government has put in 473 million dollars trying to despose of the waste in a safe way.

The 233 will be stored in stainless steel tubes at a plant in Oak Ridge, Tennesse. It will be welded shut for extra protection. Energy department officials say the problem with this is the potential threat that it could be converted into bombs, but the machinery needed for this is beyond the industrial capacity of most countries.

Although it has been sitting around for 60 years it still is radioactive, which gives it protection against anyone who tries to retrieave the 233. But Mr. Alvarez is worried that the disposal plan is insufficient. Shallow land burial “sets a bad precedent in terms of international safeguards” says Mr.Alvarez

 

>http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/24/us/uranium-233-disposal-proves-a-problem.html?_r=0

Chapter 14

Alejandro Rey

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