1. The most expensive thing in business is trying to prevent everybody else from succeeding. The cost of wars such as Iraq, absolutely dwarfs the cost of improving actual “defense” technology and nuclear deterrence. They also dwarf the cost of building nuclear plants / deterrence in the countries who feel threatened by Iran’s nuclear program. Competition can be a win-win for everybody when the players are fair.

  2. Perhaps the best proof of how difficult it is to get hold of a loose nuke is the fact that none have ever been detonated. The Soviet Union disintegrated 20 years ago. If any of their nuclear weapons got into the wrong hands, I think we would have known about it by now. The Pakistan situation is potentially dangerous depending on who is in power, but it is good to read of their policy of storing their weapons in separate pieces.
    On a slightly different topic, I would like to see journalists stop describing spent fuel reprocessing as producing “weapons grade plutonium”.

  3. Weapons proliferation, such as it is, is not a terrorist problem. It is very unlikely that terrorists could capture a weapon, and even if they did, the safeties would prevent them from using it for anything but a store of special material. Even if terrorists were able to get a sufficient quantity of special highly enriched material, I seriously doubt that they could fabricate a weapon. Terrorists stealing reactor fuel for use in weapons is even more absurd, as the fuel is not usable for weapons without an incredible amount of processing not within the capabilities of non-state actors. Further, the type of capabilities needed to fabricate weapons are highly complex, require interdisciplinary talent, and are very expensive. Only states can really do it.
    On the other hand, weapons proliferation between states and by states is more of a problem, one worthy of watching, but not one worthy of slowing down nuclear energy in any way.

  4. Did you pick up on the comments that university research reactors need better protection so that the fuel is not stolen and made into a bomb?
    Could someone please explain to me how the fuel is removed, by hand, and carried off site without causing a lethal dose? Why do nucs transfer exposed fuel/rods under water? Perhaps the new science advisor can help the nuclear power plants shorten refueling outage times by explaining how this is done.
    My specialty was nuclear instrumentation and an exposed in-core-monitor had a 4000 rem @1 meter dose rate after one cycle! This for a piece of metal about the size of a pencil.

    1. Rich – was that comment made on the clip that I posted? I watched it carefully and then searched the transcript and did not find any mention of research reactors.
      Based on what I heard Professor Mueller say, I do not think he would be one of the people who agrees with the notion that the probability of making a bomb from reactor fuel is high enough to cause any concern or warrant expensive protective measures. I could be wrong, but he seemed pretty reasonable with his evaluation of the technical means and motives of non state actors when it comes to nuclear materials.

      1. Sorry, was referring to the president’s comments at his loose nukes meeting, felt it fit here.

Comments are closed.

Recent Comments from our Readers

  1. Avatar
  2. Avatar
  3. Avatar
  4. Avatar
  5. Avatar

Similar Posts