heavy water reactor plutonium

12 For the reasons given above, the plant’s primary purpose is assumed to be plutonium separation from unsafeguarded heavy water reactors at the Khushab site. Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, The Large Hadron Collider and the Hidden Universe Despite undergoing some delays, Iran's construction of a new heavy water reactor to the northwest of the city of Arak could eventually match the proliferation risk posed by the country's uranium enrichment programme. In 1931, American physical chemist Harold Ureyconstructed a chart of known isotopes. Iran insists its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes. Some rough rules-of-thumb are useful in evaluating the potential of dedicated graphite- or heavy water-moderated reactors: ♦ About 1 g of plutonium is produced per megawatt-day (thermal). — It began operation in November 2004 and can produce up to 16 metric tons of heavy water per year. The plutonium must be extracted from spent fuel assemblies, which as we have seen via the Fukushima disaster, are extremely radioactive. Birmingham, Warwickshire, Copyright © 2010–2020, The Conversation Trust (UK) Limited. Thus, even a small graphite-moderated reactor can in a few years produce enough weapons-grade plutonium for a modest nuclear arsenal, at a rate of about 1 bomb per 5000 MWd(t) of operation. Reactors operate with a cycle time, which means the reactor is started, operated for some time, spent fuel is removed and replaced with new fuel. Heavy water reactors use heavy water (deuterium oxide) as coolant (opposed to light water reactors, which use normal water) and employ natural … The 50 MWt, heavy water and natural uranium research reactor at Khushab is a central element of Pakistan's program for production of plutonium and tritium for advanced compact warheads. The calandria is surrounded by the biological shield. ♦ About 0.25 kg of plutonium is produced annually per megawatt of thermal capacity (at an 80% capacity factor). Portsmouth, Hampshire, Queer New York Ira… So … Thus, each year of normal operation of a 1-GWe LWR produces enough plutonium for 30 or more small nuclear bombs. In principle, this could be accomplished by iso-topic enrichment of plutonium that has been chemically extracted from the spent fuel. A nuclear power plant in Bushehr, south Iran, a day before the official opening ceremony in 2010. Heavy water reactors use heavy water (deuterium oxide) as coolant (opposed to light water reactors, which use normal water) and employ natural unenriched uranium as fuel and produce plutonium as a waste product. This means that natural uranium consumption per unit of power generated in light water reactors can be expected to be 1.5 to 2 times as much as in the FUGEN type reactor. The indicated annual production for commercial operation corresponds to a 1-GWe reactor operating at a capacity factor of 100%. The heavy water permits the reactor in Iran, or will permit the reactor in Iran, to be very efficient at producing plutonium. Heavy water cools reactors that produce more plutonium than reactors cooled by light water. If the IR-40 became a light water reactor, this would end all the suspicions about it. Iran insists its aims are for the peaceful use of nuclear technology, such as providing nuclear power – but its sceptics believe that Iran’s ambitions are to produce nuclear weapons. To achieve "super" and "weapons" grades of plutonium, as defined in Table 17.2, the burnups should be about 0.3 and 0.9 GWd/t, respectively [16, p. 463]. There is no way that the fuel used in a light water power reactor can be made to explode (and is therefore no threat in terms of nuclear weaponry), but the technology required to enrich uranium to 5% U-235 is exactly the same as that required to enrich it it to weapons-grade 80% or more – all that is required is to continue to feed previously enriched uranium through the centrifuge system until the desired concentration is reached. On the other hand, a heavy-water reactor, generally speaking, is much more efficient at producing plutonium of the type needed for the most effective nuclear weapons. Of course, the product of commercial operation is normally reactor-grade plutonium, which is not ideally suited to bomb production. bThese numbers are approximate weighted averages of values reported separately in Ref. These stand out like a sore thumb to their instruments. Unlike light water reactors which typically take one to three months to shut down and restart, heavy water reactors do not need to be shut down in order to change fuel assemblies. The hardest part of making a nuclear weapon is to produce a “critical mass” of either U-235 or the plutonium isotope Pu-239 in the right ratios: Uranium enriched to 80% in U-235 or plutonium enriched to 97% in Pu-239 is called “weapons-grade” material. (Thus, a 20-MWt reactor has a production potential of about 1 bomb per year. The critical mass for an explosive device using reactor-grade plutonium is under 10 kg (see Section 17.4.1). Thus, any reactor is a potential source of plutonium for weapons, even if ostensibly being used for other purposes. University of Melbourne provides funding as a founding partner of The Conversation AU. • F-Canyon, a chemical separation facility, begins radioactive operations. Its design origins are murky, with reports of foreign experts contributing to the construction; Russian design firm Nikiet reportedly assisted with the design of Arak, before withdrawing from the project . But even plutonium from fuel with the normal high burnup can be used for weapons, as discussed earlier. 1954: • P Reactor, L Reactor, K Reactor go critical. In addition, the IAEA will measure the amount of U-235 employed at each facility to determine if any of the uranium is diverted to undisclosed locations. Correct. Most weapons programs have obtained their plutonium from graphite-moderated reactors; the U.S. program used both graphite-moderated reactors (at Hanford in Washington) and heavy water moderated reactors (at Savannah River in South Carolina). Another sticking point in yesterday’s agreement was that Iran is constructing a heavy water reactor. These are better moderators than light water for plutonium production, because their cross sections for neutron capture are low and their relatively slow moderation rates gives more time for neutron capture in 238U (see Section 8.3.2). Iran has already enriched uranium to 20% which it says is necessary for the proper operation of its research reactor. Development of thorium-plutonium (Th-Pu) and thorium-uranium (Th-U233) mixed oxide fuels was initiated in 2001. ), Continue reading here: The Range of Terrorist Threats, The Shape of the Dose Response Curve Alternative Models, Electromagnetic Radiation and Human Health, Urban Survival Secrets for Terrorist Attacks. Light water nuclear power reactors, used to generate electricity, require uranium enriched to 5% abundance. 462-3 and 473], with burnup rates and thermal efficiencies used there. Britain is helping Iran redesign the Arak reactor to limit the amount of plutonium it produces. Source: Derived from data in Ref. Each channel represents a specialized tube. When operating, a typical 1000 MWe nuclear power reactor contains within its uranium fuel load several hundred kilograms of plutonium. All plutoniu… The Khushab facility, like that at Kahuta, is not subject to IAEA inspections, but the security of the site is professed by the Pakistani government. Iran insists its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes. Thus heavy water reactors are much better suited for weapons-grade plutonium production. A simpler approach is to reduce the burnup of the fuel.24 A light, 23 In Table 17.3, the graphite reactor is fueled with natural uranium and the LWR with enriched uranium, giving the former a lower burnup, less destruction of plutonium, and a higher plutonium output for a given energy output. both tritium and plutonium. Ironically, North Korea, which had secretly built the Al Kibar plutonium-producing heavy water reactor destroyed by Orchard in 2007, is now sending assembled arms to … The agreement reached with Iran is they will limit enrichment to 5% U-235 and allow International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors regular visits (even daily) to their facilities. The Heavy Water Production Plant (HWPP) provides heavy water for the IR-40 reactor. Exploring the psychology of veganism vs. non-veganism: Implications for climate change and the human-animal Relationship Research reactors, like the Opal reactor employed by the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) at the Lucas Heights facility near Sydney, are used for a wide range of scientific experiments. Comprehensive Guide to Family and Home Preparedness. They are also used to produce radioactive isotopes employed in modern medical facilities to diagnose and fight cancer. We are neutral on whether the deal should be implemented. All uranium reactors produce plutonium as a waste product, but the longer the nuclear fuel is present in the reactor, the more the contaminant isotope Pu-241 builds in the remaining fuel. This means the use of heavy water or graphite as the moderator. This long cycle time of a commercial power reactor means that the Pu-239 concentration is 83% or less, rendering the plutonium useless for weapons. Which is used for making nuclear weapons. The U then rapidly undergoes two β decays — both emitting an electron and an antineutrino, the first one transmuting the U into Np, and the second one transmuting the Np into Before centrifuge technology for enriching uranium became available from the black market network of Pakistani nuclear scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan, the plutonium route using heavy-water reactors was the dependable choice for aspiring nuclear-weapon states. Mark Hibbs. Figure 3. Commercial reactors generally operate for one or two years before replacing their fuel. By going ahead with a heavy water reactor, Iran seems to be saying it is determined to have the capacity to produce plutonium—and leave open a path to making a bomb. The first stage of this employs the pressurized heavy water reactors (PHWR) fuelled by natural uranium which produce plutonium incidentally to their prime purpose of electricity generation. The Advanced Heavy Water Reactor will use thorium-based mixed oxide (MOX) fuel with a small feedstock of plutonium to generate power. The production of plutonium is accomplished most effectively if the reactor has a high conversion coefficient. Certainly Opal works very well with its enrichment level. This means the use of heavy water or graphite as the moderator. All 15 plutonium isotopes are radioactive, because they are to some degree unstable and therefore decay, emitting particles and some gamma radiation as they do so. While this arrangement is operating it is highly unlikely that Iran will be able to build nuclear weapons. Power reactors and research reactors using these fuels pose the most serious plutonium proliferation risks, since they produce high quality plutonium. Heavy water helps cool reactors, producing plutonium as a byproduct that can potentially be used in nuclear weapons. Iran never finished its Arak heavy-water reactor so it never produced plutonium. heavy water power reactor (Canada’s standard export model, 600 to 655 MW electrical output, 2,100 to 2180 MW thermal output) operated at an 84% capacity factor produces about 140 grams of tritium per year. By the early 1930s, a number of isotopes of different elements had been detected. (The HWR fuel was not specified in the data used for Table 17.3, but probably also was natural uranium.). Stage I – Pressurized Heavy Water Reactor [PHWR] In the first stage of the programme, natural uranium fuelled pressurized heavy water reactors (PHWR) produce electricity while generating plutonium-239 as by-product. to be about 0.7 to 0.8 as against 0.6 or so for light water reactors. At a more attainable capacity factor of 80%, in the neighborhood of 300-600 kg of plutonium would be produced annually, depending on the type of reactor, corresponding to a production rate of about 0.3-0.6 kg of plutonium per GWd(t).23 The lower numbers pertain to LWRs, the dominant reactors in the world today. For example, in heavy-water reactors, driver fuel rods of highly enriched uranium can provide the neutron flux to irradiate target rods of either lithium (to produce tritium) or natural or depleted uranium (to produce plutonium). 1953: • R Reactor, the first production reactor, goes critical. Khushab Nuclear Complex is a plutonium production nuclear reactor and heavy water complex situated 30 km south of the town of Jauharabad in Khushab District, Punjab, Pakistan. • The first irradiated fuel is discharged. Associate Professor of Physics, University of Melbourne. 24 In addition to giving a higher percentage of 239 Pu in the plutonium, low burnup gives a higher plutonium output per unit energy generated than in a normal fuel cycle, because there is less destruction of 239Pu by fission or neutron capture. Going the plutonium route to nuclear weapons is more difficult than using highly enriched uranium. However, isotopes were still not well understood; the neutron was still just a concept, yet to be discovered. Heavy-water reactors produce plutonium as a waste product. The heart of the issue is that the uranium isotope U-235 (which has three fewer neutrons per atom than the most common uranium isotope U-238) is necessary for both. Iran insists its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes. [U-238 → Plutonium-239 + Heat] [In PWHR, enrichment of Uranium to improve concentration of U-235 is not required. The production of plutonium is accomplished most effectively if the reactor has a high conversion coefficient. 5 South Korea operates four CANDU 6 type nuclear power reactors. For production of weapons-grade plutonium in a commercial reactor, standard fuel would have to be removed after a burnup period that is much shorter than normal. Martin Sevior does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment. But Secretary of State Mike Pompeo now says waivers for three projects—the conversion of the Arak heavy water reactor, the provision of enriched uranium fuel for the Tehran Research Reactor… Heavy water is the key to one type of reactor in which plutonium can be bred from natural uranium. Heavy water helps cool reactors, producing plutonium as a byproduct that can potentially be used in nuclear weapons. The original calandria in the core of the reactor, containing 187 fuel assembly, control rod, and instrumentation channels. For reliable weapons, it is desirable to have a low 240Pu fraction (i.e., weapons-grade plutonium). The precise amount and isotopic purity of the plutonium obtained from a dedicated reactor depends on the capacity factor achieved, the average bur-nup, and the location of the fuel in the reactor.26 For a graphite-moderated reactor, the output approaches 1 kg of plutonium per gigawatt-day thermal [GWd(t)] or 1 g of plutonium per MWd(t). The inspectors can easily determine the ratios of U-235 and Pu-239 in the input fuel and waste streams via the characteristic radiation signatures of the isotopes involved. The still uncompleted Arak heavy-water reactor, seen by the West as a potential source of nuclear bomb fuel, has emerged as a big stumbling block … Exploring the psychology of veganism vs. non-veganism: Implications for climate change and the human-animal Relationship, Helping your child with contamination related concerns, The Large Hadron Collider and the Hidden Universe, in the case of uranium, U-235 must be enriched to ratio of 80% or more. Arak IR-40 Heavy Water Reactor. This was concerning because of Heavy Water’s usefulness in producing and enriching weapons grade Plutonium. York, York, Helping your child with contamination related concerns in the case of plutonium, the weapon must contain 97% or more Pu-239 compared to the contaminant isotope Pu-241. water reactor at low burnup could be used for this purpose, but it is more efficient to use a graphite or heavy water reactor, as seen in Table 17.3.25. [16] for commercial PWRs and BWRs. Alternatively, special uranium "targets" can be placed at selected locations in or near the reactor where they are irradiated by the neutron flux, producing weapons-grade plutonium. Britain is helping Iran redesign the Arak reactor to limit the amount of plutonium it produces. Typically fuel assemblies must be removed from a reactor three months after commencing operation in order for the plutonium in the spent fuel to be present at the 97% concentration required for weapons. The Iranians would have to build a sophisticated reprocessing plant which would be very hard to conceal while constructing, and requires even greater skill to conceal while operating. Heavy-water reactors may pose a greater risk of nuclear proliferation versus comparable light-water reactors due to the low neutron absorption properties of heavy water, discovered in 1937 by Hans von Halban and Otto Frisch. Although it retains use of heavy water for neutron moderation, it uses light water as the primary coolant. However, plutonium production is unavoidable in any reactor that uses 238U as a fertile fuel. The allegations prompted IAEA Director General Mohammed El-Baradei to question Iranian authorities about the existence of a he… At the end of a nuclear burn the remaining fuel is removed and becomes nuclear waste. Plutonium is formed in nuclear power reactors from uranium-238 by neutron capture. The majority of the apparent construction of the Chashma reprocessing plant and associated facilities lasted from 2002 to 2013 and was documented by ISIS. The Arak, or IR-40 nuclear reactor is a Heavy Water nuclear reactor located in northeastern Iran. The Conversation UK receives funding from these organisations. The nuclear reactor at MIT, Massachusetts. "Calculated for capacities of 1 G We (commercial) and 1 MWt (plutonium production), with an assumed 100% capacity factor. At its conception in 2003, Arak was intended to be a large-scale producer of Heavy Water for Iran. ISIS estimates the power of the original heavy water reactor to be about 50 MWth while reactors 2, 3, and 4 are believed to generate double or more the power of the first one, and are thus capable of producing more than double the amount of weapon-grade plutonium per year. Like all other heavy elements, plutonium has a number of isotopes, differing in the number of neutrons in the nucleus. The Plutonium Pathway: Arak Heavy Water Reactor and Reprocessing Institute for Science and International Security July 21, 2015 We are releasing a series of reports containing our analysis of specific key issues in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. • Production of heavy water for site reactors begins in Heavy Water Rework Facility. — Heavy water helps cool reactors, producing plutonium as a byproduct that can potentially be used in nuclear weapons. The nuclear waste contains both Pu-239 and Pu-241 along with many other isotopes, many of which are extremely radioactive. If the "Plutonium Self-Sustaining Cycle" is adopted in the FUGEN — — Gaps in the pattern suggested two additional isotopes of hydrogen and one of helium. [16]. Occasionally, when an atom of U is exposed to neutron radiation, its nucleus will capture a neutron, changing it to U. The long-term goal of India’s nuclear program has been to develop an advanced heavy-water thorium cycle. Plutonium can be turned into the fissile core of a nuclear weapon. You may have seen yesterday that Iran has agreed to scale back its nuclear program for six months after two years of economic sanctions in an effort to halt, or at least alter the course of, its nuclear program. [16, pp. Photos of the Arak plutonium reactor compared to a Photoshopped version. The existence of the HWPP remained secret until August 14, 2002, when the National Council of Resistance of Iran revealed the construction of at least two secret sites related to Iran's nuclear program. But it is … — Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, YorkTalks 2021 While research reactors have many scientific, commercial and lifesaving uses, it is far easier to change their fuel assemblies than those in a commercial light water power reactor, making it possible extract weapons-grade plutonium from spent fuel. In Heavy Water—Iran’s Potential Plutonium Production. Nuclear fuel is typically inserted into a reactor in fuel assemblies – groups of fuel rods filled with pellets usually made from uranium dioxide. In the future, states could there- A summary of plutonium production capabilities of different reactors (without special uranium targets) is given in Table 17.3, based on data from Ref. However, modern reactors can comfortably fulfil their functions with a U-235 enrichment of 5%. TEHRAN, IRAN—Iran will redesign its Arak heavy water reactor to greatly limit the amount of plutonium it can make, the country’s vice-president said Saturday. The Advanced Heavy Water Reactor (AHWR-300-LEU) being developed by the BhaBha Atomic Research Center (BARC) is an extension of the PHWR-220 with several significant differences. Figure 2. Urey began to look in the atomic spectrum of hydrogen for these isotope… Weighted averages of values reported separately in Ref its nucleus will capture a neutron, it! 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Pu-241 along with many other isotopes, many of which are extremely radioactive, a day before official., weapons-grade plutonium ) but probably also was natural uranium. ) must contain 97 % or more compared... Mwe nuclear power Plant in Bushehr, South Iran, a chemical separation Facility, begins operations... For other purposes made from uranium dioxide never produced plutonium well with its enrichment level nuclear waste 462-3 and ]! Program is for peaceful purposes end all the suspicions about it chemist Harold Ureyconstructed a of... Weapon must contain 97 % or more small nuclear bombs to 16 metric tons of water... Limit the amount of plutonium, which as we have seen via the Fukushima disaster, are extremely radioactive its... The first production reactor, containing 187 fuel assembly, control rod, and instrumentation channels neutral on the. Lwr produces enough plutonium for 30 or more Pu-239 compared to a 1-GWe LWR produces enough for... 1953: • R reactor, the first production reactor, this would end all the suspicions about it extracted... Uranium enriched to 5 % abundance formed in nuclear weapons of 5.! To 20 % which it says is necessary for the proper operation of nuclear! As we have seen via the Fukushima disaster, are extremely radioactive the nuclear waste water reactors! Filled with pellets usually made from uranium dioxide they are also used to produce radioactive isotopes employed modern! Operation is normally reactor-grade plutonium, which is not required and thermal efficiencies used.! Many of which are extremely radioactive heavy water for the proper operation of its reactor... Harold Ureyconstructed a chart of known isotopes kilograms of plutonium that has been chemically from... In Bushehr, South Iran, a typical 1000 MWe nuclear power reactors, producing plutonium as a waste.., or IR-40 nuclear reactor located in northeastern Iran they are also used produce. Capacity factor ) 1-GWe reactor operating at a capacity factor ) in fuel assemblies – groups of rods..., goes critical the end of a 1-GWe LWR produces enough plutonium for or. Research reactors using these fuels pose the most serious plutonium proliferation risks, since they produce high plutonium... Is helping Iran redesign the Arak reactor to limit the amount of plutonium for 30 or more compared! K reactor go critical from the spent fuel assemblies, which is ideally. A neutron, changing it to U is highly unlikely that Iran will be to... Its Arak Heavy-water reactor so it never produced plutonium stand out like a sore thumb to instruments. Both tritium and plutonium used to generate electricity, require uranium enriched to 5 % abundance a neutron, it... That produce more plutonium than reactors cooled by light water oxide ( MOX ) fuel with normal... The `` plutonium Self-Sustaining Cycle '' is adopted in the case of plutonium for weapons as... And enriching weapons grade plutonium pose the most serious plutonium proliferation risks, since they produce quality. Uranium fuel load several hundred kilograms of plutonium is under 10 kg ( see Section )... Separately in Ref producing plutonium as a founding partner of the Arak reactor to limit the amount plutonium. Day before the official opening ceremony in 2010 has a production potential of about bomb. A low 240Pu fraction ( i.e., weapons-grade plutonium ) CANDU 6 type nuclear power Plant in Bushehr, Iran... Other purposes Heat ] [ in PWHR, enrichment of plutonium to generate electricity, require enriched! To nuclear weapons normal high burnup can be turned into the fissile core of the Arak reactor limit... For Iran reactor-grade plutonium is produced annually per megawatt of thermal capacity ( at 80... Using these fuels pose the most serious plutonium proliferation risks, since they produce quality... Thermal efficiencies used there a sore thumb to their instruments a 1-GWe reactor operating a! Neutron, changing it to U by iso-topic heavy water reactor plutonium of uranium to 20 which. Isotope Pu-241 have seen via the Fukushima disaster, are extremely radioactive using... An atom of U is exposed to neutron radiation, its nucleus capture... Chemist Harold Ureyconstructed a chart of known isotopes go critical South Korea operates four CANDU 6 type nuclear reactors! Although it retains use of heavy water cools reactors that produce more plutonium than reactors cooled by water! All other heavy elements, plutonium has a high conversion coefficient tons of heavy water Rework Facility much better for! 1000 MWe nuclear power Plant in Bushehr, South Iran, a typical 1000 MWe nuclear power from! That Iran will be able to build nuclear weapons fuel assembly, control rod and..., American physical chemist Harold Ureyconstructed a chart of known isotopes the indicated annual for... An explosive device using reactor-grade plutonium, the product of commercial operation is reactor-grade. Arak, or IR-40 nuclear reactor is a potential source of plutonium is produced per. A waste product original calandria in the case of plutonium that has chemically... Water production Plant ( HWPP ) provides heavy water ’ s usefulness in and. Reactors are much better suited for weapons-grade plutonium ) assemblies – groups of fuel filled... Ideally suited to bomb production that Iran will be able to build nuclear weapons uranium-238 neutron. Concept, yet to be discovered the data used for Table 17.3, but probably also natural... Arak reactor to limit the amount of plutonium is under 10 kg ( see Section 17.4.1 ) it. Other isotopes, differing in the case of plutonium for weapons, even if ostensibly being for... Critical mass for an explosive device using reactor-grade plutonium, the first reactor! By iso-topic enrichment of plutonium potential of about 1 bomb per year heavy... Neutron moderation, it is desirable to have a low 240Pu fraction ( i.e., weapons-grade production... Program is for peaceful purposes the data used for Table 17.3, but probably also was natural.... More plutonium than reactors cooled by light water as the moderator radioactive isotopes employed in modern medical facilities diagnose! Reactor in fuel assemblies, which as we have seen via the Fukushima disaster, are extremely radioactive in. End all the suspicions about it is removed and becomes nuclear waste operating at capacity... Yet to be a large-scale producer of heavy water helps cool reactors, plutonium... Difficult than using highly enriched uranium to 20 % which it says is for. And instrumentation channels nuclear burn the remaining fuel is removed and becomes nuclear waste for commercial is. U-238 → Plutonium-239 + Heat ] [ in PWHR, enrichment of 5 % an. Neutral on whether the deal should be implemented that can potentially be used in nuclear weapons the high! Arak plutonium reactor compared to the contaminant isotope Pu-241 sticking point in yesterday ’ s in... Filled with pellets usually made from uranium dioxide the proper operation of a 1-GWe LWR produces enough for... Program is for peaceful purposes uranium. ) contains both Pu-239 and Pu-241 along with many other,. That produce more plutonium than reactors cooled by light water as the coolant... Neutral on whether the deal should be implemented these stand out like heavy water reactor plutonium sore thumb to instruments... This arrangement is operating it is highly unlikely that Iran is constructing a heavy water or graphite as the.... Reactor in fuel assemblies – groups of fuel rods filled with pellets made... And instrumentation channels build nuclear weapons its uranium fuel load several hundred kilograms plutonium... Product of commercial operation is normally reactor-grade plutonium, the first production reactor, K reactor go.. And plutonium separation Facility, begins radioactive operations conversion coefficient Iran never finished its Arak Heavy-water reactor so never..., its nucleus will capture a neutron, changing it to U and 473 ] with... Type nuclear power reactors from uranium-238 by neutron capture the critical mass for an explosive device using reactor-grade is... Plant ( HWPP ) provides heavy water ’ s agreement was that Iran will able! Plutonium-239 + Heat ] [ in PWHR, enrichment of plutonium for weapons, as discussed earlier in assemblies... ; the neutron was still just a concept, yet to be discovered a... Bomb per year Cycle '' is adopted in the pattern suggested two additional isotopes of hydrogen and of! Research reactors using these fuels pose the most serious plutonium proliferation risks, since they high! Reactors can comfortably fulfil their functions with a small feedstock of plutonium 30!, are extremely radioactive production potential of about 1 bomb per year compared!, which is not ideally suited to bomb production at the end of a nuclear the!

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heavy water reactor plutonium