HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Topics » Environment & Energy » Environment & Energy (Group) » "There is more (weap...
Introducing Discussionist: A new forum by the creators of DU

Sun Mar 25, 2012, 05:51 PM

"There is more (weapons grade) material on civilian sites than all weapons stockpiles put together"

http://www.calgarysun.com/2012/03/23/nuclear-threat-a-clear-and-present-danger

Nuclear threat a clear and present danger
By Jessica Murphy ,Parliamentary Bureau
First posted: Sunday, March 25, 2012 12:00 AM MDT

OTTAWA - Threats of a Cold War nuclear attack sparked by aggression between the Yanks and Ruskies are 20 years behind us. But the world is now wrestling with a different nuclear threat - there's enough highly enriched uranium and separated plutonium lying around to produce more than 100,000 nuclear weapons, and not all of it is properly secured.

So this week, Prime Minister Stephen Harper will join over 50 world leaders and UN, International Atomic Energy Agency and European Union representatives in Seoul, South Korea, for the second Nuclear Security Summit aimed at tackling that very murky threat.

It's not just about securing the stockpiles of weapons in nuclear states - the U.S., U.K., Russia, France, Israel, China, Pakistan and India - against terrorists. It's also about facing and fixing the myriad security gaps in the nuclear power industry at large.

"There is more (weapons grade) material on civilian sites than all weapons stockpiles put together," says Matthew Bunn, a nuclear security expert with Harvard University.

<snip>

36 replies, 3420 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 36 replies Author Time Post
Reply "There is more (weapons grade) material on civilian sites than all weapons stockpiles put together" (Original post)
bananas Mar 2012 OP
Bennyboy Mar 2012 #1
madokie Mar 2012 #2
Bennyboy Mar 2012 #4
madokie Mar 2012 #5
PamW Mar 2012 #12
Mnemosyne Mar 2012 #6
TheWraith Mar 2012 #10
kristopher Mar 2012 #3
PamW Mar 2012 #13
RobertEarl Mar 2012 #7
txlibdem Mar 2012 #8
kristopher Mar 2012 #9
madokie Mar 2012 #11
txlibdem Mar 2012 #14
PamW Mar 2012 #15
kristopher Mar 2012 #16
txlibdem Mar 2012 #17
PamW Mar 2012 #18
kristopher Mar 2012 #19
txlibdem Mar 2012 #21
kristopher Mar 2012 #22
txlibdem Mar 2012 #23
PamW Mar 2012 #25
txlibdem Mar 2012 #29
PamW Apr 2012 #36
PamW Mar 2012 #24
PamW Mar 2012 #26
NNadir Mar 2012 #20
struggle4progress Mar 2012 #27
kristopher Mar 2012 #28
kristopher Mar 2012 #30
PamW Apr 2012 #31
kristopher Apr 2012 #32
PamW Apr 2012 #33
kristopher Apr 2012 #34
PamW Apr 2012 #35

Response to bananas (Original post)

Sun Mar 25, 2012, 05:55 PM

1. What about DEPLETED URANIUM.....

 

littered across the Middle east? 26,000 tons?

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Bennyboy (Reply #1)

Sun Mar 25, 2012, 06:10 PM

2. Yup, just go read about the health problems in Fallujah Iraq today

Where much of the DU weapons, (of where much of this 26,000 tons) were used and see if that shit is safe. If anyone has any doubts as to the safety of what the military is using as penetrating rounds to punch holes in the masonry buildings that the Iraqi build to live in.


Not sure my spelling of Fallujah is correct, sorry, spell check didn't catch it if it isn't

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to madokie (Reply #2)

Sun Mar 25, 2012, 09:00 PM

4. Fallujah babies: Under a new kind of siege

 

Fallujah, Iraq - While the US military has formally withdrawn from Iraq, doctors and residents of Fallujah are blaming weapons like depleted uranium and white phosphorous used during two devastating US attacks on Fallujah in 2004 for what are being described as "catastrophic" levels of birth defects and abnormalities.

Dr Samira Alani, a paediatric specialist at Fallujah General Hospital, has taken a personal interest in investigating an explosion of congenital abnormalities that have mushroomed in the wake of the US sieges since 2005.


US invasion leaves lasting Iraq scars
"We have all kinds of defects now, ranging from congenital heart disease to severe physical abnormalities, both in numbers you cannot imagine," Alani told Al Jazeera at her office in the hospital, while showing countless photos of shocking birth defects.

As of December 21, Alani, who has worked at the hospital since 1997, told Al Jazeera she had personally logged 677 cases of birth defects since October 2009. Just eight days later when Al Jazeera visited the city on December 29, that number had already risen to 699.

"There are not even medical terms to describe some of these conditions because we've never seen them until now," she said. "So when I describe it all I can do is describe the physical defects, but I'm unable to provide a medical term."

'Incompatible with life'

READ MORE: http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2012/01/2012126394859797.html

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Bennyboy (Reply #4)

Sun Mar 25, 2012, 09:28 PM

5. Man will grow to rue the day that the nuclear genie was let out of the bottle

And the thing is we had ww2 won without the use of the atom bombs.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to madokie (Reply #5)

Tue Mar 27, 2012, 10:06 AM

12. Bad History, as always...

And the thing is we had ww2 won without the use of the atom bombs.
=========================

Bad history, as always. Madokie is evidently ignorant of the fact that the Manhattan Project was not created because of the Japanese.

The Manhattan Project was created by FDR because of the Einstein letter, and the concerns that Einstein, and Szilard, and other scientists had with regard to Germany, not the Japanese. The fear was that the German nuclear weapons program led by Heisenberg would bear fruit, and the USA would be facing off against a nuclear-armed Germany. A couple things worked in the USA's favor; namely that the German program made some mistakes, like not believing that graphite could moderate a natural uranium reactor, so the Germans were working on heavy water reactors. ( Blame von Bothe for that error ). The other is that Germany was defeated before either nation could develop nuclear weapons.

The Japanese were preparing to defend their homeland voraciously. Look at the cost in lives of US servicemen just for that little postage stamp of an island called Iwo Jima. Can you imagine what the toll would be when the home islands of Japan were invaded.

Thankfully, the bomb that was intended for use on Germany, was ready when it was time to finally defeat Japan.

PamW

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to madokie (Reply #2)

Sun Mar 25, 2012, 09:42 PM

6. DU, white phosporous and who can imagine what other nightmares were unleashed in Fallujah. nt

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Bennyboy (Reply #1)

Mon Mar 26, 2012, 03:44 PM

10. Where did you get that number? Because it's completely wrong.

Estimates place the total mass of all depleted uranium bearing weaponry used in Iraq at 1000 tons, and the percentage of that actually being uranium (as opposed to casings, propellant, etc.) as 200 tons.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Depleted_uranium#Ammunition

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to bananas (Original post)

Sun Mar 25, 2012, 06:57 PM

3. Good post. The seriousness of the issue is downplayed by too many.

Atomic power is clean, green and too cheap to meter don'cha know?

People's Daily Online>>Opinion
Prevent nuclear terrorism
By Li Hong (China Daily)
08:30, March 23, 2012


The upcoming Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul on March 26-27 will further discuss global cooperation in preventing nuclear terrorism. Although no nuclear terrorist attack has been reported so far, nuclear and radioactive materials and related technologies are widely used and the possibility of a nuclear terrorist attack does exist.

According to the International Atomic Energy Agency, there have been a total of 2,164 incidents involving the loss, theft or unauthorized possession of nuclear and radioactive materials from 1993 to 2011, and the Fukuyama nuclear crisis in Japan has demonstrated that an attack on the diesel-driven emergency power supply system, fuel rods and other key parts of a nuclear power plant could trigger a nuclear disaster.

The international community has made great efforts to prevent nuclear terrorism. The United Nations Security Council adopted resolution 1540 in 2004 to prohibit any non-state actor acquiring or manufacturing weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons. Resolution 1887 was adopted at a summit in 2009 on nuclear non-proliferation and nuclear disarmament aimed at strengthening the implementation of resolution 1540. It urged all countries to ensure the security of especially vulnerable nuclear weapons materials to prevent nuclear terrorism.

At the first Nuclear Security Summit in 2010, global leaders reached a consensus on the seriousness of the threat of nuclear terrorism and the necessity of working together to reduce such threats and produce a detailed work plan to counter the illicit trafficking of nuclear materials.

Nuclear security has received greater attention since ...


http://english.people.com.cn/90780/7766512.html

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to kristopher (Reply #3)

Tue Mar 27, 2012, 10:14 AM

13. BALONEY!!!

Atomic power is clean, green and too cheap to meter don'cha know?
========================================

Kris continues to tout the "too cheap to meter" line; when I've showed him several times that the quote does not originate with the nuclear industry but with a Government official, AEC Chairman Lewis Strauss. Additionally, Strauss was not talking about fission power plants; he was talking about fusion:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lewis_Strauss

In 1954, Strauss predicted that atomic power would make electricity "too cheap to meter." He was referring to Project Sherwood, a secret program to develop power from hydrogen fusion, not uranium fission reactors as is commonly believed.

The concern about nuclear terrorism is about terrorists getting a nuclear weapon. However, you don't find material usable in weapons in a commercial power plant. You do find radioactive material, but that's not necessarily nuclear weapons material.

The radioactive material could be used for "dirty bombs". However, "dirty bombs" are over-hyped as the following from UC-Berkeley Physics Professor Richard Muller published in Technology Review calling the "Weapons of Mass Distraction" says:

http://muller.lbl.gov/TRessays/29-Dirty_Bombs.htm

PamW



Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to bananas (Original post)

Sun Mar 25, 2012, 10:45 PM

7. Oh great

And there is the sun. The sun could throw a monkeywrench in the whole nuke plant operations.

They call it the Carrington Effect, named after Carrington who noticed telegraph wires burning up when the sun last did a little gig.

http://truth-out.org/news/item/7301-400-chernobyls-solar-flares-electromagnetic-pulses-and-nuclear-armageddon

I think the 400 number may be exaggerated, just 300 is all that will blow if they don't fix the problem.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to bananas (Original post)

Mon Mar 26, 2012, 05:57 AM

8. Don't forget that the Earth is part Uranium, part Thorium

Thorium is in your back yard, in your child's playground, in the material that make up the buildings all around us. Same with Uranium.

Fear it. Or be realistic about the real world.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to txlibdem (Reply #8)

Mon Mar 26, 2012, 12:28 PM

9. Not sure what that has to do with the OP

Are you saying that nuclear weapons are like a sandbox?

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to kristopher (Reply #9)

Mon Mar 26, 2012, 03:46 PM

11. Can you say Hijack

peace

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to kristopher (Reply #9)

Tue Mar 27, 2012, 12:10 PM

14. Weapons grade Uranium... 57,000 pounds of it come out of each coal plant each year

Oh, you thought you could use the fact that the nuclear material at nuclear power plants is tightly controlled and is under lock and key to make it seem like NOOK-yoo-LUR is scary. I get it.

Well then, why aren't you afraid of coal power plant emissions??? Coal's output of weapons grade material far exceeds nuclear power plants on a year by year basis.

You must be focused on nuclear only, as if the radioactive material in coal is somehow different. Weapons grade Uranium is the same, whether it's from a coal power plant or a nuclear power plant. Oh, except far more is produced by coal each year, let's keep things in perspective.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to txlibdem (Reply #14)

Wed Mar 28, 2012, 10:47 AM

15. Courtesy of Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Courtesy of Oak Ridge National Laboratory:

http://www.ornl.gov/info/ornlreview/rev26-34/text/colmain.html

The above report from Oak Ridge is the documentation for your claims above.

I wanted to post this before the usual cadre of scientific "know-nothings" showed up to dispute it.

PamW

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to txlibdem (Reply #14)

Wed Mar 28, 2012, 12:59 PM

16. Why do you continue to spread what you know is deliberate nuclear industry propaganda?

I'm sure they appreciate it greatly, especially since so few Dems and Progressives are receptive to their falsehoods. You do know that the "nuclear industry" is not the same as "science" don't you? Like all other industries it misuses science to hoodwink the gullible. Now, we know that you know this is bullshit so the question becomes why do you work to promote it?

Whatever your personal motive, we know that you are supported by the same poster who wrote the quote below - note how quickly she moved to lend support the absurd claim you made that the extremely low concentrations of uranium in coal emissions are comparable to weapons grade (aka highly enriched) uranium and/or plutonium.
I've taken on the real anti-nuke and renewable powerhouses. We're beating back
the ones at DOE. Thanks to the Solyndra scandal we got DOE's chief "greenie"
Jonathan Silver to resign. If the Congress keeps the pressure on, then we have
a shot at clearing out the "renewables rats" that have infested DOE.

If we can clear them out, we can shutdown the subsidies to the so-called "greenie"
"solutions". We won't be wasting any more of the taxpayers money on "greenie"
solutions that are going nowhere.

If we can kill their subsidies for a year or two, they'll die on the vine. - PamW


Frankly Tex, people who routinely and knowingly trot out such misleading bullshit with the obvious intent to deceive the uninformed should be banned from this group IMO.

Over a year ago it was explained to you very patiently, so why do you continue to spread it like you don't know it is deception?


in this thread you started on the same topic:

http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=115x292136

And here is the response to you by struggle4progress. Pay attention to the final excerpt and we wont need for you to suffer this embarrassment again.

post 107. Here's Gabbard's estimated global total radioactivity release from coal, 1937 - 2040:

... Thus, by combining U.S. coal combustion from 1937 (440 million tons) through 1987 (661 million tons) with an estimated total in the year 2040 (2516 million tons), the total expected U.S. radioactivity release to the environment by 2040 can be determined. That total comes from the expected combustion of 111,716 million tons of coal with the release of 477,027,320 millicuries in the United States. Global releases of radioactivity from the predicted combustion of 637,409 million tons of coal would be 2,721,736,430 millicuries ...

http://www.ornl.gov/info/ornlreview/rev26-34/text/colmain.html

So, over a century, he estimates a cumulative worldwide radiological "release" (mostly in ash) under 3 x 10^6 curies

Let's compare that to just a few bad days at Chernobyl, where perhaps 14 EBq (14 x 10^18 Bq) was released -- or over 3 x 10^11 curies

So if we had been burning coal, at present rates, since humans first walked the planet, the coal burning wouldn't have had as much radiological impact as the Chernobyl accident. (And actually, that's simply an impossible scenario: if we burned all our coal at present rates, we'd run out in a century or two)

Of course, there are plenty of good reasons to hate coal, but comparative radiological hazard isn't on the chart




Posted by struggle4progress on Mon May-02-11 08:39 PM

The Gabbard webpage at ORNL is the source of the whole discussion, and it is linked by the link in the OP

So most of this thread is debating Gabbard, whether or not people recognize it, and for that reason, I cite Gabbard's numbers: they are the numbers under discussion

I rather dislike the Gabbard webpage, as it rather incoherently wanders between mass, radioactivity, and dose estimates, and because its discussion of doses from nuclear plant relies on design basis estimates, rather than on actual emissions

In fact, much of what is on the Gabbard page is simply nonsense; here, for example, Gabbard suggests coal ash poses a nuclear weapon proliferation threat:

Because electric utilities are not high-profile facilities, collection and processing of coal ash for recovery of minerals, including uranium for weapons or reactor fuel, can proceed without attracting outside attention, concern, or intervention. Any country with coal-fired plants could collect combustion by-products and amass sufficient nuclear weapons material to build up a very powerful arsenal, if it has or develops the technology to do so. Of far greater potential are the much larger quantities of thorium-232 and uranium-238 from coal combustion that can be used to breed fissionable isotopes. Chemical separation and purification of uranium-233 from thorium and plutonium-239 from uranium require far less effort than enrichment of isotopes. Only small fractions of these fertile elements in coal combustion residue are needed for clandestine breeding of fissionable fuels and weapons material by those nations that have nuclear reactor technology and the inclination to carry out this difficult task


Such claims are simply laughable: extracting enough fissile material, from coal ash, in order to make a nuclear weapon, would require enormous financial and energetic and technical resources -- with enormous facilities for chemical separation and isotopic enrichment

Estimates for the Chernobyl release vary by perhaps two orders of magnitude; I found the 14 EBq figure on a standard nuclear industry site. Divide it by ten or a hundred or a thousand: the Chernobyl release still dwarfs coal releases.



Since we are all discussing Gabbard, I quoted Gabbard as saying coal burning will release 2.7 million curies between 1937 and 2040

If you don't want to discuss Chernobyl, we can discuss TMI or Fukushima

For comparative purposes, consider the nuclear accident at Three Mile Island:
The total radioactivity released during the accident was 2.4 million curies. See: Thomas M. Gerusky. "Three Mile Island: Assessment of Radiation Exposures and Environmental Contamination." In: Thomas H. Moss and David L. Sills: The Three Mile Island Nuclear Accident: Lessons and Implications. New York: The New York Academy of Sciences,1981, p. 57 http://echo.gmu.edu/tmi /


For further comparative purposes, releases of a single isotope (I-131) from Fukushima may exceed 2.4 million curies; see http://www.nuc.berkeley.edu/node/2206


Posted by struggle4progress on Tue May-03-11 01:09 AM

Coal ash consists mainly of compounds like silicates, alumina, and iron rust: a rather glassy or ceramic material, which has been formed at high temperature in an oxidizing environment, so it won't be very reactive. The first challenge is to extract a trace element from it

Coal ash is (say) 10 ppm natural uranium. A good quality uranium deposit is about 20% U308 -- say, 20 000 times richer in uranium than coal ash. The chemical problem of extracting an element, from a sample which is 20% of that element, is quite different from chemical problem of extracting an element, from a sample which is 0.001% of that element. Coal ash contains almost everything at low concentrations, so in the initial stages of a separation attempt, you're going to get a "soup" that contains all manner of stuff at very low concentrations. To overcome the entropic barrier presented by the extreme dilution, you will need some very favorable reactions

Weapons-grade uranium is about 85% U-235, with a critical mass of some tens of kilograms. Natural uranium is about 2% U-235 49% U-238, and 49% U-234. Thus, you need to start with at least 40x more natural uranium than the amount of weapons-grade uranium you hope to obtain

What's it going to take to produce ten kilograms of weapons-grade uranium from coal ash? At 10 ppm natural uranium, you can't get more than 10 g natural uranium from a metric tonne of coal ash, so 10 kg of natural uranium requires at least 1000 metric tonnes of coal ash; multiplying by 40, you'd need at least 40 000 metric tonnes of coal ash to produce ten kilograms of weapons-grade uranium. The actual numbers will be much worse, since you cannot expect quantitative extraction of a trace element, and you can't expect easy isotopic separation. You're actually contemplating a very substantial industrial enterprise

For perspective, consider this: the average abundance of uranium in crustal rock is about 2.5 ppm. If you can figure out a feasible way to extract uranium from coal ash, you can probably figure out a feasible way to extract uranium from most rocks: there's only a factor of about four in the trace concentrations.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to kristopher (Reply #16)

Wed Mar 28, 2012, 09:49 PM

17. False and you know it

Curies are given off as radioactive decay happens. Uranium is extremely long lived so it must, by the laws of physics, give off less radiation than a shorter lived substance. You know this yet you choose to attempt to fool the gullible on DU with a BS comparison??? tsk tsk.

You talk of explosions of nuclear reactors which give off short lived particles (and lots of curies for a very short time) as if the cumulative radiation from 57,000 pounds of NUCLEAR BOMB MATERIAL each year from each reactor is nothing but a flea, nothing to worry about.

You may state some facts but you twist those facts into a lie.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to txlibdem (Reply #17)

Thu Mar 29, 2012, 05:25 PM

18. EXACTLY

Again the cadre of scientific "know-nothings" continue to hoist themselves on their own petards.

Curies and Bq are units of the rate of radioactive decay. It has precisely NOTHING to do with whether a material is weapons material or not. The know-nothings "think" ( term used loosely ) that the property that one wants for nuclear weapons material is radioactivity.

BALONEY!!! If that were the case, then some short-lived isotope like Iodine-131 would be weapons material.

The radioactive material that came out of Chernobyl that is being quoted is analogous to nuclear ash; that is material that has already had the nuclear energy extracted from it. Ash is NOT a fuel.

But the know-nothings love to trumpet their ignorance; so be it.

Those of us with scientific acumen can sit back and have a good laugh at them.

PamW

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to PamW (Reply #18)

Thu Mar 29, 2012, 08:13 PM

19. You claim "scientific acumen" when you can't read for basic comprehension?

Get someone to help you with this, ok?

The claims regarding radioactive emissions have two basic thrusts: first is that if radioactivity from coal emissions are somehow acceptable then the radioactive emissions from nuclear plants should also be acceptable.

This argument is predicated on the favorite tactic used by the nuclear industry to lie - data trimming. The argument is narrowly crafted to compare only the emissions from the normal operation of nuclear. Excluded from that data set are both the remainder of the fuel cycle (both pre and post "normal operations") and accidents, which are apparently "abnormal operations".

The first two quoted sections from struggle4progress very effectively demostrates the fallacy created by this data trimming via the examples of Chernobyl and TMI. You'll note please the units of measurement.
For comparative purposes, consider the nuclear accident at Three Mile Island:
The total radioactivity released during the accident was 2.4 million curies. See: Thomas M. Gerusky. "Three Mile Island: Assessment of Radiation Exposures and Environmental Contamination." In: Thomas H. Moss and David L. Sills: The Three Mile Island Nuclear Accident: Lessons and Implications. New York: The New York Academy of Sciences,1981, p. 57 http://echo.gmu.edu/tmi /


For further comparative purposes, releases of a single isotope (I-131) from Fukushima may exceed 2.4 million curies; see http://www.nuc.berkeley.edu/node/2206

The second thrust of Gabbard's argument relates to the proliferation problem associated with nuclear power and claims that the use of coal ash as a feed stock for nuclear weapons material is a practical possibility that negate concerns related to weapons proliferation associated with the spread of civilian nuclear power.

As I clearly wrote to Tex, "...here is the response to you by struggle4progress. Pay attention to the final excerpt and we wont need for you to suffer this embarrassment again.
And for your edification here is that "final excerpt"; note also, please, the units used for comparison in this section.

Posted by struggle4progress on Tue May-03-11 01:09 AM
Coal ash consists mainly of compounds like silicates, alumina, and iron rust: a rather glassy or ceramic material, which has been formed at high temperature in an oxidizing environment, so it won't be very reactive. The first challenge is to extract a trace element from it

Coal ash is (say) 10 ppm natural uranium. A good quality uranium deposit is about 20% U308 -- say, 20 000 times richer in uranium than coal ash. The chemical problem of extracting an element, from a sample which is 20% of that element, is quite different from chemical problem of extracting an element, from a sample which is 0.001% of that element. Coal ash contains almost everything at low concentrations, so in the initial stages of a separation attempt, you're going to get a "soup" that contains all manner of stuff at very low concentrations. To overcome the entropic barrier presented by the extreme dilution, you will need some very favorable reactions

Weapons-grade uranium is about 85% U-235, with a critical mass of some tens of kilograms. Natural uranium is about 2% U-235 49% U-238, and 49% U-234. Thus, you need to start with at least 40x more natural uranium than the amount of weapons-grade uranium you hope to obtain

What's it going to take to produce ten kilograms of weapons-grade uranium from coal ash? At 10 ppm natural uranium, you can't get more than 10 g natural uranium from a metric tonne of coal ash, so 10 kg of natural uranium requires at least 1000 metric tonnes of coal ash; multiplying by 40, you'd need at least 40 000 metric tonnes of coal ash to produce ten kilograms of weapons-grade uranium. The actual numbers will be much worse, since you cannot expect quantitative extraction of a trace element, and you can't expect easy isotopic separation. You're actually contemplating a very substantial industrial enterprise

For perspective, consider this: the average abundance of uranium in crustal rock is about 2.5 ppm. If you can figure out a feasible way to extract uranium from coal ash, you can probably figure out a feasible way to extract uranium from most rocks: there's only a factor of about four in the trace concentrations.






Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to kristopher (Reply #19)

Thu Mar 29, 2012, 10:37 PM

21. favorite tactic to lie - data trimming.

That is what you just did in your previous post. Now you are lambasting Pam for it when she did no such thing.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to txlibdem (Reply #21)

Fri Mar 30, 2012, 01:48 AM

22. Your reading skills...

... are identical to those of Pam and Nnads.

Suggest you get your mom to help you with the sentences longer than 5 words.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to kristopher (Reply #22)

Fri Mar 30, 2012, 07:36 AM

23. Ad hominem not accepted

Ad hominem not accepted. You have lost the argument by facts and logic so now you hurl insults. Typical anti-nuclear cult behavior.

Down with the ANC, down with coal.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to txlibdem (Reply #23)

Fri Mar 30, 2012, 10:41 AM

25. Perhaps PITY is in order

txlibdem,

Perhaps PITY is in order. Perhaps Kris is the victim of a poor school system.

Somehow he graduated high school ( I assume ) "thinking" that almost half of natural uranium is the isotope U-234 !!!!.

That's the problem with the anti-nukes; they don't know the scientific principles, they don't know the scientific facts.

Because of that; they are just fodder for anti-nuke propagandists to fill up with more misinformation.

Because of the lack of understanding of facts and scientific principles, they can't properly evaluate the risks and benefits of a complex technology like nuclear power. So they have uninformed opinions.

After all; nuclear power is supported by the bulk of scientists, and the scientists that really understand nuclear power; the physicists; the percentage that support nuclear power is in the high 90s - like 98% or 99% of physicists support nuclear power.

Our great scientific honor societies like the National Academy of Science and Engineering also supports nuclear power.

On the other hand, we have people who "think" that nearly half of natural uranium is U-234; and they are against nuclear power.

For the intelligent individual; the choice is clear as to which side they should be on.

PamW

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to PamW (Reply #25)

Sat Mar 31, 2012, 09:17 AM

29. I pity those who are gullible enough to be fooled by people like Kris

I pity those who are gullible enough to be fooled by people like Kris. Most of them don't have the time to really investigate his diatribes and cut and paste sessions to find that they are either meaningless babble that doesn't relate to the question at hand or they are outright misinformation attempting to cloud the issue.

Some people "follow" his views because they don't have the time to find out how completely wrong he is.

His best "gotcha" (on him) was attempting to muddy the water by equating a nuclear explosion with the steady stream of toxic and radioactive material coming out of each and every coal power plant in the world... and then concluding that a short burst of bad stuff is important but a constant ooze of deadly pollutants is nothing to worry about at all.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to txlibdem (Reply #29)

Wed Apr 4, 2012, 11:15 AM

36. Additionally...

Additionally,

Can you believe that Kris actually believed that natural uranium was 49% U-234????

I know he was just parroting another post; but how does one get out of high school and not know that natural uranium is NOT 49% U-234!!

PamW

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to kristopher (Reply #19)

Fri Mar 30, 2012, 10:27 AM

24. WRONG AS ALWAYS!!

Last edited Fri Mar 30, 2012, 11:25 AM - Edit history (2)

Kris,

There's NOTHING wrong with my reading comprehension - your lack of understanding is the problem.

You quote above:

Natural uranium is about 2% U-235 49% U-238, and 49% U-234.

WRONG WRONG WRONG
This is basic high school level science, which you continually get WRONG
See:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isotopes_of_uranium

Naturally occurring uranium is composed of three major isotopes, uranium-238 (99.2739 - 99.2752% natural abundance), uranium-235 (0.7198 - 0.7202%), and uranium-234 (0.0050 - 0.0059%)

Or go to the Chart of the Nuclides hosted by Brookhaven National Lab:

http://www.nndc.bnl.gov/chart/

In the little box at right that says "Nucleus" - enter "U235", "U238", and "U234" and it will tell you the abundance for each.
For example, when you enter "U234"; the data page for U-234 shows the abundance to be 0.0054% - NOT 49%.

NO WAY is half of natural uranium the isotope U-234; which you claim is 49% of natural uranium.
NO - the actual percentage of U-234 is < 0.006%. You are four orders of magnitude in error.

I have NOTHING to be embarrassed about - because YOU are the one that has just been PROVEN WRONG

Evidently "struggle4progress" is NOT a very reliable source on this matter; and you didn't know better yourself, and merely parroted his error.

Evidently the main points of the paper by Gabbard of Oak Ridge National Laboratory eludes you. Yes it takes a substantial amount of coal ash to produce a weapon's worth of fissile material. However, we burn BILLIONS of metric tonnes of coal in the USA each year, and produce more than enough ash to accomplish what Gabbard claims. Also, Gabbard is not advocating that somebody attempt to extract the U-235 from coal ash, or that this would be an economic process. Gabbard is merely attempting to put the amounts in perspective.

You are also in ERROR about your claim of "data trimming". Nobody has to resort to "data trimming".

No - you need to learn the difference between two concepts: radioactivity and "dose equivalent". Radioactivity measured in Curies or Becquerels is merely the rate at which radioactive material decays - changes from radioactive to stable, or radioactive to the next step in the decay chain. That's all any number with the units of Curie or Bq means.

Dose and dose equivalent refer to the actual deposition of energy into living tissues, and how much biological damage is done by that energy deposition. Dose is measured in "rads" or "Grays", and dose equivalent is measured in "rems" or "Sieverts".

Fission products are principally beta-emitters; that is the radiation they release is merely high-energy electrons. The effluent that comes out of coal plants has Uranium which is an alpha-emitter. Alpha emitters cause MUCH, MUCH, greater biological damage than do electrons because they interact much more strongly with matter. In that regard, Uranium shares this trait with Plutonium; and you know what happens when you inhale Plutonium.

Kris; take a printout of this thread to your local high school physics teacher, who can complete the job I've started of pointing out your errors due to your lack of scientific understanding. While you are there, why not sign up for some remedial science courses so that we can have a more informed discussion.

Theses session of you parroting propaganda from anti-nuke websites is really getting BORING. That's especially true with the parroting of complete rubbish; like natural uranium being almost half U-234.

PamW



Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to kristopher (Reply #16)

Fri Mar 30, 2012, 11:47 AM

26. Dishonesty!!!

Kris quotes struggle4progress:

For comparative purposes, consider the nuclear accident at Three Mile Island:
The total radioactivity released during the accident was 2.4 million curies.

This is the type of "half-truth" that the anti-nukes are famous for.

There were 2.4 million curies of noble (inert) gases released, like Krypton-85. The reason this is disingenuous is that inert gases don't engage in chemical reactions; so your body can't uptake these materials. If you breathe some in, you will just breathe it out on the next breath because the body can't capture these inert gases. Your exposure is limited to the second or so that the material was in your lungs. That's not a long time for an isotope with a half-life of 10.75 years.

In order to get real biological damage; the body has to uptake the radionuclide and have it lodge in the tissues. That can't happen with noble gases.

See the ruling of the Judge in the TMI lawsuit, courtesy of PBS Frontline:

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/reaction/readings/tmi.html

According to the Rogovin Report, "approximately 2.5 million curies of radioactive noble gases and-15 curies of radioiodines were released These releases resulted in an average dose of 1.4 mrem to the approximately two million people in the site area

The noble gases weren't responsible for the radiation dose to the populace. It was the 15 curies of I-131. That dose averaged 1.4 mrem.

So it is disingenuous to use the 2.4 million Curie figure; because that was noble gases that don't cause much dose, if any.

The true figure of biologically active radionuclides released at TMI is 15 Curies of I-131.

PamW

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to bananas (Original post)

Thu Mar 29, 2012, 09:39 PM

20. Wow. There must have been lots of nuclear wars then.

How come we never hear about all these wars?

I mean I've heard of several oil wars, including, um, one called "World War II."

Everyone on earth must have died from all those nuclear wars, just like everyone in Japan died from Fukushima, and everyone in PA died from Three Mile Island.

It's pretty funny that anti-nukes pay absolutely NO attention to the fact that oil wars actually have killed many millions of people since 1940.

How come we never have anti-nukes worrying about weapons grade gasoline in Exxon stations around the corner.

Because anti-nukes hate the science they know nothing about, they think that nuclear weapons are easy to make. As usual they're rolling and writing in fear, ignorance and superstition.

This year the concentration of toxic, dangerous fossil fuel waste will reach 400 ppm in most observatories around the world. This is addition to the dangerous fossil fuel and renewable (biomass) waste that according to the World Health Organization kills 3.3 people per year in normal operations.

Have a nice evening.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to bananas (Original post)

Fri Mar 30, 2012, 02:07 PM

27. As far as I can tell, the OP concerns the possibility that significant quantities of HEU

remain unsecured at civilian sites, posing a continuing proliferation concern

The resulting thread, in familiar manner, wanders over various other topics, such as depleted uranium, before settling in familiar grooves

txlibdem in #14 would have us believe that 57,000 pounds of weapons grade Uranium come out of each coal plant each year
http://www.democraticunderground.com/?com=view_post&forum=1127&pid=10459
This is (of course) blatant nonsense: what comes out of coal plants, beyond lots of CO2 we don't need and lots of acid gases, is a bunch of fly-ash that's roughly as radioactive as some shales. If this fly-ash were comparable to weapons grade Uranium, it would spontaneously experience run-away fission; it doesn't, and the shale beds don't, and nobody is going to build an atomic bomb using critical masses of shale or coal fly-ash, since neither of these substances has a sufficiently high density of fissile materials to have a critical mass. "Weapons grade Uranium" (on the other hand) does have a critical mass, and it's been sufficiently enriched in productive isotopes of uranium that if a critical mass is assembled quickly enough, it does spontaneously experience a catastrophic run-away fission reaction

txlibdem's post is followed by PamW's obligatory repost of Alex Gabbard's ancient idiotic "article." Gabbard claims to believe that coal ash is rich in exploitable mineral products with commercial value; that by collecting uranium from coal combustion, significant quantities of fissionable material could be accumulated; and that any country with coal-fired plants therefore poses a proliferation risk. These arguments are roughly of the caliber of the crank posts we sometimes see calculating how much gold there is in the ocean and how rich we could become by extracting it. Crudely put, coal has about the uranium content of the soil in an average backyard, and coal fly-ash is slightly more concentrated than that, but still has pretty low levels: if there were any real prospect for extracting uranium profitably from the fly-ash, somebody would have already done so, but the concentration is nowhere near the levels of even low-productivity uranium ores

In the course of the discussion, participants do manage to discover some sloppy writing of mine from a year or so ago: Weapons-grade uranium is about 85% U-235, with a critical mass of some tens of kilograms. Natural uranium is about 2% U-235 49% U-238, and 49% U-234. Thus, you need to start with at least 40x more natural uranium than the amount of weapons-grade uranium you hope to obtain. It is true that the "2% U-235 49% U-238, and 49% U-234" are activity levels for natural U and that the per weight levels 0.71% U-235 99.28% U-238 and 0.005% U-234. That was sloppy of me, and I applaud my ideological opponents for their diligence in rooting out my error, to the benefit of all of us who prefer reality based argument, but in fact by correcting my error they have only strengthened the argument I was making, since the following sentence should then be amended to Thus, you need to start with at least 85%/0.71% = 120x more natural uranium than the amount of weapons-grade uranium you hope to obtain -- which means that producing weapons grade material is even harder than I previously claimed

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to struggle4progress (Reply #27)

Fri Mar 30, 2012, 10:42 PM

28. Thank you for the clarification.

Your contribution to this discussion has been extremely valuable. I know the food fights are a off-putting, but this group needs the contributions of informed people. It would be a real pleasure if you dropped in more often.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to bananas (Original post)

Sat Mar 31, 2012, 10:59 AM

30. Interview with Matthew Bunn from Harvard's Managing the Atom Project

4 minute summary:


Transcript and longer video available at link below

From the transcript:
...

Harrell: The final element of nuclear security that you have identified as being of biggest concern and in need of large action is the presence of research reactors that use highly enriched uranium for fuel. Highly enriched uranium can also be used to fuel nuclear bombs. These research reactors are often at civilian facilities that donít have as strong a security apparatus as military facilities. What did we see at the summit on this issue and what can be done next?

Bunn: One of the important steps taken on research reactors was an agreement between the U.S. and the Europeans to shift the production of medical isotopes from using highly enriched uranium targets to low enriched uranium that canít be used in a nuclear bomb. The big producers are South Africa, which has already begun the switch, Belgium and the Netherlands, which agreed to the switch in the summit statement, and Canada, which didnít agree to switch but will likely shut down its isotope production reactors within a couple of years because they are very old. That now will leave Russia, which is just coming into the market with isotopes made with highly enriched uranium, as the last remaining big producer using highly enriched uranium. We need to work on Russia to convince them to convert that production so that we can end the use of highly enriched uranium for medical isotopes.

What we saw at the summit is a lot of places with small amounts of material agreeing to give it up. What we didnít see is a lot of action on the places with the big quantities of nuclear material, with the exception of Ukraine which had announced that it eliminated all the highly enriched uranium on its soil. What Iíd like to see as we move to the next summit is a commitment from each country that has highly enriched uranium, plutonium or nuclear weapons on its soil to examine in depth every single place where those stockpiles exist and ask Ďdo we still need this place? Can we do without it? Do the benefits of keeping this stuff at this place outweigh the costs and the risks?í

If we can convince countries to put stringent security requirements in place it will provide more effective security that will be sustained for the long haul. If it is legally required it was also drive up the cost of having highly enriched uranium or plutonium at each site and give facilities an incentive for giving up that material. Thatís happened in the United States where there has been a huge consolidation of the number places where there is highly enriched uranium or plutonium because our security regulations have driven up the costs of maintaining that material....


http://belfercenter.ksg.harvard.edu/publication/21864/matthew_bunn_interview_on_successes_challenges_of_2012_nuclear_summit.html

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to kristopher (Reply #30)

Tue Apr 3, 2012, 10:16 AM

31. Non Sequitur - what does this have to do with nuclear power

Kris again demonstrates his lack of understanding of the technical issues.

What does this interview with Bunn have to do with nuclear power??

Bunn is talking about the use of weapons grade uranium in research reactors; not power reactors.

Our friend who "thinks" that 49% of natural uranium is U-234 evidently doesn't understand the fuel mixes used in various reactor types.

Power reactors in the USA, both PWR and BWR; use a fuel mix that consists of 3-4% U-235 ( the fissile isotope ) and 96-97% U-238.
This fuel mix used by ALL power reactors is called LEU or Low Enriched Uranium. This mix of uranium isotopes is IMPOSSIBLE to use for bomb fuel. Bomb fuel needs a very high percentage of U-235 in the fuel mix because bombs have to operate on a fast spectrum; they can't wait for neutrons to slow down like a reactor can. A reactor operates at a steady power, and can wait a millisecond or so for neutrons to slow down. For a constant power reactor, the power level a millisecond ago is the same as the power level at the current time.

A bomb isn't like that. The power level of a bomb is rising rapidly. The whole explosion process of going from essentially zero power to generating all the energy of the nuclear explosion takes place in less time than it takes a single generation of neutrons to slow down to the thermal energies that power reactors run on. Therefore, a bomb can't run on a thermal neutron spectrum, and it needs HEU - Highly Enriched Uranium as fuel.

Research reactors, of the type one would find at a University; used to run on HEU also. However, there was a program run by Argonne National Lab starting back in the '80s called RERTR ( Reduced Enrichment - Research & Test Reactors ). The idea was to develop an LEU fuel that could be used for research and test reactors. The Ford Reactor at the University of Michigan, which had been running on HEU was the test bed. Argonne developed a new fuel that was LEU that could be used by most research reactors that were then using HEU.

However, there are 3 research reactors that can't use the new LEU fuel. Two of those reactors are owned by Universities, and one is at a Government-owned national laboratory. I'm very familiar with one of the university reactors. The core of this reactor is very small; about the size of 2 coffee cans. Because of that; it can't use the current LEU fuel. However, the national labs are still working on developing a higher density version of this fuel, and when that higher density fuel is developed, the university that owns the reactor plans on converting to the LEU fuel. However, in the mean time; the amount of HEU fuel that is added at refueling time is less than what one needs to make a bomb. Once the reactor has been operated with the new fuel; that new fuel is no longer useful for making a bomb. So even if someone manages to find out when the university is going to fuel the reactor, and steals the new HEU fuel; there's not enough to make a bomb. Still, the university that owns the reactor plans to switch to an LEU fuel as soon as a workable LEU fuel is available.

I believe the university that owns the other HEU-fueled research reactor will follow suit. As far as the third HEU fueled test reactor; it is located at a US Government-owned national laboratory. The national laboratories are well protected by their security forces. After all; some of those laboratories and facilities are used to design, refurbish and maintain the USA's stockpile of nuclear weapons. They don't have just bomb fuel; they have actual bombs - so are well protected, as are the military bases that are the normal home to the nuclear weapons.

The main concern is not the HEU-fueled reactors in the USA; but HEU-fueled reactors in other countries.

It's kind of funny, because the US Department of Energy wanted to consolidate the places where they have weapons-usable material. In fact, they wanted to have it all in ONE spot - Los Alamos National Laboratory. All the work on weapons-usable material and the storage of this material was to be consolidated into a single facility called the "CMRR-NF". Ironically, the anti-nukes have been opposing the funding and building of the CMRR-NF facility at Los Alamos. Because of that, the weapons material will remain strewn at many different facilities in the DOE complex instead of being consolidated into one facility at Los Alamos.

Pity - the anti-nukes regularly appear to be operating against their own principles. Mainly because the don't think.

PamW

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to PamW (Reply #31)

Tue Apr 3, 2012, 12:12 PM

32. It is now a given that you have trouble with reading comprehension

You really haven't got a clue about what you respond to, do you?

The thread above is a record of the discussion to date, Pam. It begins with an OP that quotes Bunn extensively. The diversion to nuclear power production for weapons grade material initiated by tex and yourself.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to kristopher (Reply #32)

Tue Apr 3, 2012, 06:35 PM

33. The other way around...

Kris,

You are the one without a clue. I know what I'm talking about.

Yes - there is a problem securing weapons grade material; but not in the USA, and not in the commercial sector.

The power reactors don't have a problem with "weapons usable" material.

The research reactors that use HEU is pretty much a solved problem.

Therefore, we don't have to "throw the baby out with the bathwater". We don't have to forgo the use of nuclear power, and we don't have to forgo the use of research reactors to produce medical isotopes. Those problems have been solved in the USA.

We just need to get other nations to adopt our solutions.

PamW

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to PamW (Reply #33)

Tue Apr 3, 2012, 07:59 PM

34. How long are you going to pretend that enrichment isn't a right of reactor ownership?

Your belief that we've solved the HEU problem in the USA is based on a very 2 dimensional view of reality that presumes society tomorrow will be as stable as today. We can certainly hope that it is, but in fact you do not know what will happen in the future - here or anywhere else.

Your claim that there is no problem related to commercial reactors making available weapons grade material is sheer nonsense. While the reactors themselves are able to be operated on LEU, for any nation with a commercial nuclear power program the reactor comes with the absolute right to ALSO pursue their own enrichment program - which is the path from LEU to HEU. The spread of civilian nuclear power into developing economies is an open invitation for antagonistic countries to engage in regional nuclear arms races. Add to that the time dimension of indefinite reactor lifespans and shifting geopolitical realities and the promotion of increased reliance on nuclear power is revealed as being nothing short of yet another idiotic exercise in corporate greed.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to kristopher (Reply #34)

Wed Apr 4, 2012, 10:05 AM

35. WRONG AS ALWAYS!!

Last edited Thu Apr 5, 2012, 10:14 AM - Edit history (1)

a commercial nuclear power program the reactor comes with the absolute right to ALSO pursue their own enrichment program
==========================

FABRICATION ALERT -- FABRICATION ALERT -- FABRICATION ALERT

Signatories of the Nuclear NonProliferation Treaty like Iran are precluded by the Treaty from engaging in activities like HEU enrichment that furthers weapons development. Honestly Kris you do this all the time; you just fabricate "absolute rights" out of whole cloth and never check into the prohibitions.

If a nation is willing to flaunt their responsibilities with respect to the NPT and develop HEU enrichment; then they don't even need a reactor - they just build the enrichment plant without even having a reactor. That is, of course, what Iraq did before the Gulf War of 1991.

http://www.fas.org/nuke/guide/iraq/nuke/program.htm

Research and development of the full range of enrichment technologies culminating in the industrial-scale exploitation of EMIS and substantial progress towards similar exploitation of gas centrifuge enrichment technology.

The Iraqi enrichment program used the EMIS ( ElectroMagnetic Isotope Separation ) technology, often called "Calutrons" because the first EMIS units for the US Manhattan Project were developed by Professor Ernest Lawrence of the University of California who won the 1939 Nobel Prize in Physics for his invention of the cyclotron.

If a nation is going to cheat on the NPT; they don't need to have a reactor to "justify" the cheating.

EVERY nuclear weapons state in the world had their nuclear weapons BEFORE they had nuclear power plants. So the claim that nuclear power plants cause nations to get nuclear weapons is laughable at best.

Your geopolitical "gobbledygook" of "two dimensional views", and "open invitations"... and other random ramblings are less than impressive. See if you can put together something based on logic instead of this nonsensical "handwaving".

The fact of the matter is; nations pursue nuclear weapons for some military advantage over a rival; and that is independent of whether they have a reactor or not. Pakistan and India have a long time antagonism; and taking reactors out of the equation isn't going to change that antagonism. It's simplistic to "think" ( term used loosely ) that it would.

PamW

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Reply to this thread