This additional 5 to 12 tons stock of reactor-grade plutonium is potentially weapon usable and, if not used in Fast Breeder Reactors
, could support an additional arsenal of 833 to 3000 reactor grade plutonium based nuclear weapons besides those based on weapons grade plutonium.
As early as 1945, the Argonne National Laboratory began seriously to investigate the possibility of constructing a breeder reactor
. Breeding is possible in nuclear fission because when the atom splits, two and sometimes three neutrons are released.
The idea is to install small reactors that use natural uranium to generate power, the waste that emerges from this can then be used as fuel in so called "fast breeder reactors
" and finally a completely new kind of reactor the Advanced Heavy Water Reactor a plant that feeds on the abundant thorium reserves could generate enough electricity to power the nation for 250 years, fulfilling India's quest for energy independence.
Table 1 shows India's 22 power reactors (excluding the prototype fast breeder reactor
, which is discussed below).
The Japanese delegation welcomed the renewed potential operation of Phenix ( fast breeder reactor
at Marcoule, Gard) and the French side expressed a hope that Monju (Japan's largest experiment FBR, now at a standstill) "will soon be able to make a further contribution to cooperation in fast reactor R & D".
They may target further research into a cousin of the breeder reactor
called the Gas Turbine Modular Helium Reactor, a proposed indoor laser machine that would test nuclear bombs and Congressional funding for the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.
Joining with environmental groups, NTU helped kill the Clinch River Breeder Reactor
, where cost overruns were more than enough to wipe out the savings it was designed to produce.
Some of that plutonium was produced by an experimental breeder reactor
; most of the rest came from spent fuel generated by Hanford's N plant.
Russia's Beloyarsk nuclear power station is currently preparing to launch a new power unit with a BN-800 sodium-cooled fast breeder reactor
The forefront is this that the reactor and the equipment that we have made here is of high precision," said Prabhat Kumar, Project Director of the prototype fast breeder reactor
The gas-cooled fast reactor uses helium coolant directly to a gas turbine generator to produce electricity and would be a breeder reactor
. The design might be used as a process heat source for the production of hydrogen.
The Clinch River site, abandoned since late 1983 when Congress killed the breeder reactor
project that was to occupy the land (SN: 11/19/83, p.