The Other Arms Race: The Liquid Metal Fast Breeder Reactor and the Plutonium Safeguards Problem Public Deposited

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  • Hyman, Eric
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of City and Regional Planning
  • Since its inception, controversy has surrounded the development of the Liquid Metal Fast Breeder Reactor (LMFBR) program. Why? The LMFBR presents significantly higher risks than the current generation of conventional Light Water Reactors (LWR), due mainly to the safeguards problems associated with the breeder's plutonium fuel cycle. Plutonium creates hazards to human welfare for several reasons. It is an extremely toxic substance. Furthermore, it is relatively easy to construct a nuclear bomb out of an quantity of plutonium the size of a softball and small amounts of plutonium can be used directly as radiation dispersal weapons. These potential dangers are accentuated by the breeder fuel cycle, which requires large amounts of cross-country transportation of nuclear materials. Shipments in transit are especially vulnerable to theft and sabotaged induced disasters. Nuclear black markets for terrorists and hostile governments may develop.
Date of publication
Resource type
  • Article
Rights statement
  • In Copyright
Journal title
  • Carolina Planning Journal
Journal volume
  • 3
Journal issue
  • 1
Page start
  • 23
Page end
  • 33
  • English
Digital collection
  • Carolina Planning Journal
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