January, 2013

Nuclear Proliferation

In light of what is happening in Iran and North Korea it seems strange that there has been very little mentioned about the link between nuclear power and nuclear weapons. There are many countries now talking about becoming a nuclear power. For example Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan says that he wants to  actualize Nigeria’s dream […]

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Controlling Nuclear Fission

Every induced fission event produces two or more neutrons. These neutrons can go on to induce more fission or they can be absorbed without producing fission or lost from the surface of the reactor core. To keep the reactor self sustaining at least one neutron must go on to produce one fission for every fission […]

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Production and Fission of Transuranic Elements In A Nuclear Reactor

If you are wondering where I am going with this it is because it is relevant to nuclear weapons proliferation, thorium fuel cycles and the problems with high burnup fuel. In a previous post I explained a bit about neutron capture, cross sections etc. Now I am going to consider a simplified model for neutron […]

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Why The Nuclear Industry Cannot Predict The Past

The title of the post is not that original1 and you will have to bare with me to understand it. I read a yet another news report about a nuclear power (Pilgrim in the USA) plant unexpectedly shutting down2. However, everything worked as it should, there was no radioactive releases and there was no need […]

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More About Neutrons

This is another background post and I am going to explain a bit more about the interaction of neutrons with matter. Since neutrons do not have a charge we are going ignore their interaction with electrons – they do interact somewhat but going into this now could be confusing. They do interact with atomic nuclei. […]

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Deep Geological Repository

It is planned that the spent fuel from Sizewell C&D will be moved to a final ‘geological repository’ in about 21301. At a recent consultation meeting EDF gave the impression that the technology to do so was well understood and that deep geological repositories already exist in Finland and Sweden. This is far from the […]

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Terrorist Attacks on Spent Nuclear Fuel Ponds

In my previous blog I talked about the amount of spent fuel and in particular Caesium 137 that will possible stored at Sizewell if the new nuclear build goes ahead. This radioactivity could be released either by accident (such as the one that almost happened at Sizewell A1) or by a terrorist attack. We mentioned […]

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