One last item about John Kerry's appearance on Fox News Sunday. (See yesterday's post.)
When being questioned about the North Korean nuclear bomb test, Chris Wallace asked Kerry about the Clinton administration providing nuclear energy technology to Kim Jong ILL's regime.
Kerry looked down his patrician nose at Wallace and uttered with total disdain and contempt "Chris we gave them URANIUM. They are using PLUTONIUM in the bombs!"
Wallace blinked, as I would have too, probably for the same reason. I was of the opinion that plutonium is a by-product of nuclear energy reactors but I didn't have the info at my fingertips so I didn't go into it until I had my facts clear.
Here are the facts:
Plutonium: a fission energy source
Plutonium is a by-product of the fission process in nuclear reactors, due to neutron capture by uranium-238 in particular. When operating, a typical LWR (light water reactor) nuclear reactor contains within its uranium fuel load about 325 kilograms of plutonium, with plutonium-239 being the most common isotope. Pu-239 is fissile, yielding much the same energy as the fission of a U-235 atom, and complementing it.
Well over half of the plutonium created in the reactor core is "burned" in situ and is responsible for about one third of the total heat output for a LWR. Of the rest, one sixth through neutron capture becomes Pu-240 (and Pu-241), the balance emerges as Pu-239 in the spent fuel.
Plutonium and Weapons
It takes about 10 kilograms of nearly pure Pu-239 to make a bomb. Producing this would require 30 megawatt-years of reactor operation, with frequent fuel changes and reprocessing the 'hot' fuel. Weapons-grade Pu is made by burning natural uranium fuel to the extent of ...(effectively 3 months.)
Thanks to www.ask.com for sending me to this site: http://www.uic.com.au/nip18.htm.
So Kerry's condescension notwithstanding, when we hear about a specific length of time going by before this or that country has enough plutonium to create a bomb, it is directly related to how many nuclear reactors that country is operating, how much energy they are producing and thus how much weapons grade plutonium emerges from the spent uranium.
Someone, please get Kerry a scholarship to a real college where they teach real information that is usable in the real world. Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton have been on the nuclear fuel bandwagon for decades and now we know why. Under the guise of providing clean, peaceful energy, they actually are spreading the tools for making nuclear bombs.
And we want Kerry to be where in 2009? How about anyplace except at the new president's swearing in ceremony in Washington, D.C.?
Monday, October 16, 2006