U.S.-Russia Plutonium Management and Disposition Agreement

michaelw
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Re: U.S.-Russia Plutonium Management and Disposition Agreeme

Post by michaelw » Apr 16, 2016 7:00 am

The plutonium was intended for nuclear weapons. So, why not dust off the PACER hybrid fission/fusion power plant ideas? There is no surer way to dispose of the plutonium than to consume it in a atomic explosion with a little fusion boost.
I know this idea is from cloud cuckoo land and violates(maybe) the intent of the agreement, but the it would be nice to convert all of the plutonium into U233 and then some (thank you D-D fusion). Breeding U233 would facilitate down blending with current stores of depleted uranium to minimize the weapons potential of the bred U233 (the intent of the agreement). The U233 could also find a nice home in Kirk's LFTR if the Proliferation fears can be mitigated.

Michael

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Kirk Sorensen
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Re: U.S.-Russia Plutonium Management and Disposition Agreeme

Post by Kirk Sorensen » Apr 16, 2016 8:08 am

"Downblending" U-233 makes it worthless. I have never been and will never be in favor of such a plan. And it doesn't make the world one bit safer either. Building LFTRs on the thorium fuel cycle and retiring enrichment facilities and burning down plutonium, now that would be an improvement on the state of things, not grasping at phantoms with uranium-233.

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Re: U.S.-Russia Plutonium Management and Disposition Agreeme

Post by djw1 » Apr 16, 2016 8:43 am

Downblended U-233 is hardly worthless.

ThorCon has posted a note on this issue at http://thorconpower.com/docs/wgpu.pdf

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Re: U.S.-Russia Plutonium Management and Disposition Agreeme

Post by E Ireland » Apr 16, 2016 10:01 am

Downblended 233U to ~4-5% still leaves it worth $1-2/g, which translates to something like $20-40/g of actual 233U for light reactor use.

Hardly worthless.

michaelw
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Re: U.S.-Russia Plutonium Management and Disposition Agreeme

Post by michaelw » Apr 16, 2016 11:29 am

I don't disagree Kirk.
The greatest value would be to place the Plutonium/U233 in thermal spectrum breeders/iso-breeders. The comment about converting the plutonium to U233 and down blending was an acknowledgement of the current state of regulations regarding fissile isotopes and the public's irrational fear of plutonium.
The current regulations to prevent diversion of fissile materials to weapons use make little sense when compared to the path chosen by the majority of nations to obtain nuclear weapons (centrifuges).
The United States cannot even see the value of the U233 that it currently holds. (Have they have down blended it already?)
My original purpose with the post was to show the opportunity, provided by the agreement, that could be exploited by the MSR community. 34 tons of plutonium could jump start the MSR revolution if given a chance. I would hate to see it blended with reactor grade plutonium and buried.

Michael

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Re: U.S.-Russia Plutonium Management and Disposition Agreeme

Post by Kurt Sellner » Aug 18, 2016 2:13 pm

michaelw wrote:So, why not dust off the PACER hybrid fission/fusion power plant ideas?
Because first that is most certainly a violation of the treaty. Secondly, any mention of using nuclear explosives to generate energy is a near certain way to get a thread locked and a "time out" from the moderators.

Using the plutonium as a starter fuel for LFTR, DMSR, or similar liquid fuel reactors is certainly preferable to many other means of disposal as it means seeing the plutonium used as fuel for energy, can jumpstart a nuclear renaissance, and do so without expensive fuel fabrication.

While the DOE has handcuffed itself with self imposed lack of even a means to license liquid fuel reactors this does not prevent other government entities from licensing reactors. The DOD has been licensing reactors for a very long time and the US Navy has been an advocate for nuclear power research and development for decades. It should not be take too much to get some admirals convinced to put some resources in developing a power reactor that can burn this plutonium even if it never proves feasible in a warship. Such reactors are valuable for powering military bases, and making sure that military bases have power in a case of a full scale war or civil disruption is always a concern.

Another means of getting nuclear reactors licensed is through state governments. So far states have allowed the federal government to have a monopoly on nuclear material regulation but that does not mean the states cannot assert their right to license their own reactors. This would most likely ruffle some political feathers but convincing the powers that be that this means disposing of plutonium as required by treaty should smooth some of them. Pointing out the potential for jobs, carbon free energy, preventing nuclear weapon proliferation, and other benefits should reduce some of the politic resistance.

Perhaps my idea of a state licensed nuclear reactor is also from cuckoo land but at least I'm not proposing the building of plutonium bombs to detonate in a cavern.
Disclaimer: I am an engineer but not a nuclear engineer, mechanical engineer, chemical engineer, or industrial engineer. My education included electrical, computer, and software engineering.


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Kirk Sorensen
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Re: U.S.-Russia Plutonium Management and Disposition Agreeme

Post by Kirk Sorensen » Dec 05, 2016 1:30 pm

DOE Secretary: U.S. Commits To IAEA Monitoring For Six Metric Tons Of Plutonium Disposition
At an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) conference, U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz today announced the United States is embarking on an effort to dilute and dispose of six metric tons of excess plutonium from the Savannah River Site in South Carolina, and that the United States is prepared to work with the IAEA in 2017 to develop a monitoring and verification plan for the disposition process.
Yucca is dumb.
MOX is dumber.
This is the dumbest of all.

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Re: U.S.-Russia Plutonium Management and Disposition Agreeme

Post by KitemanSA » Dec 09, 2016 8:52 pm

Titanium48 wrote:Unless somebody manages to build a molten chloride reactor soon, making Th-Pu MOX to burn in water cooled reactors makes the most sense. When a commercial LFTR design is ready for mass production, fluorinate the spent Th-Pu MOX for startup fuel.
A molten fluoride reactor can burn PuFFF the magic fuel too.
DRJ : Engineer - NAVSEA : (Retired)



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Kirk Sorensen
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Re: U.S.-Russia Plutonium Management and Disposition Agreeme

Post by Kirk Sorensen » Apr 30, 2017 1:47 pm

Moscow Ready to Consider Renewal of Russia-US Deal on Weapon-Grade Plutonium
Russia is ready to consider the prospects of renewal of the bilateral Plutonium Management and Disposition Agreement (PMDA) if the United States sticks to an agreed method of disposition, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Saturday. "The Russian side is ready to consider the possibility of reactivation of the PMDA if the US side eliminates the causes that led to a radical change of conditions that were in effect at the moment, when the agreement came into force. [Such consideration could take place], including if the United States will adhere to the agreed method of disposal [of weapons-grade plutonium]," the statement said.

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Re: U.S.-Russia Plutonium Management and Disposition Agreeme

Post by Kurt Sellner » May 06, 2017 12:25 am

I just re-read some of the articles posted in this thread and it seems this dumpster fire has been burning for how long now? Six years? I think that is where the six ton plutonium problem mentioned in one of the articles came from. The "penalty" for not completing the MOX fuel processing plant at SRS on time is the removal of one ton of plutonium for every year delayed. Six tons of excess plutonium to deal with seems to add up to a six year delay in construction.

Can someone help me with the math on what six tons of plutonium means in energy? How long would it take to produce that in a common LWR? How long would it take to burn that up in a common LWR if used as MOX fuel? How much coal would we have to burn to get an equivalent amount of energy? How many Libraries of Congress is this?

I don't mean I want all of these specific questions answered but some sort of magnitude of the problem would help me understand just how serious this is.

I have an idea. The US Coast Guard wants some heavy ice breakers. How about a half dozen shiny new nuclear ice breakers for them? That should meet the specifications of the treaty. That might not make a six ton dent in the problem but it'd be a start, no?

I know Rick Perry hasn't been the Secretary of Energy for all that long but has he made any statement about this yet? Any indication that he is aware of this problem?

I know that's a lot of questions from me and no one may have any answers. I'm just a bit frustrated that this problem has been allowed to get this bad and after reading the articles linked in this thread I now have more questions then when I started.
Disclaimer: I am an engineer but not a nuclear engineer, mechanical engineer, chemical engineer, or industrial engineer. My education included electrical, computer, and software engineering.

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Re: U.S.-Russia Plutonium Management and Disposition Agreeme

Post by Kirk Sorensen » May 23, 2017 6:41 pm

Trump budget calls for MOX termination at Savannah River Site
The Department of Energy’s preferred alternative of dilute and dispose is a hands-on process that mixes plutonium with inert material. Plutonium is ground up in a “glove box” by hand with a mortar and pestle. A small amount is then placed inside a canister and shaken with inert materials. The canister is then shipped to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant for permanent interment at the salt-mine facility in New Mexico.
This high-grade plutonium was produced at a staggering expense, both financial and environmental, and this is an absurd waste of all that effort, just like the downblending of HEU was.

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Re: U.S.-Russia Plutonium Management and Disposition Agreeme

Post by Kirk Sorensen » May 25, 2017 1:56 pm

DoE requests to terminate MOX nuclear disposition programme, again
The US Department of Energy (DoE) has once again requested that Congress terminate a multi-billion-dollar project aimed at disposing weapon-grade plutonium, the Mixed Oxide Fuel Fabrication Facility (MFFF). The MFFF has strong backing among South Carolina's congressional delegation and has survived repeated DoE efforts to curtail or terminate the programme, and last year even survived Russia's suspension of the arms control agreement that underpins the project. In its fiscal year 2018 (FY 2018) budget request, the DoE - just as it did last year under different leadership - asked for USD270 million "to terminate the Mixed Oxide [MOX] Fuel Fabrication Facility with an orderly and safe closure of the facility". Instead, it also again asked for funding, USD9 million this year, to pursue a so-called 'dilute and dispose' method as an alternative for plutonium disposition. The alternative dilute and dispose option would send the surplus US weapon-grade plutonium to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) geologic repository in New Mexico. Nearly USD5 billion has been spent on the MFFF so far, and supporters' and detractors' estimates to complete and then operate the facility vary widely, from USD15 billion to USD30 billion or more. The facility is the United States chosen means of disposing the material under the Plutonium Management and Disposition Agreement (PMDA) non-proliferation deal between the United States and Russia, signed in 2000 and updated in 2010. Russia, however, backed out of the PMDA in October 2016. Each party was to de-weaponise at least 34 tonnes of excess weapon-grade plutonium, about enough for 17,000 nuclear weapons, by converting it to MOX and then using it in nuclear reactors.

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