Posts categorized as plutonium RSS feed for this section
new_horizons

Where does the plutonium come from?

Last week I wrote about how the shortage of Pu-238 might impact the exploration of the outer Solar System, but I didn’t much get into where the plutonium comes from. After all, while there are trace amounts of natural plutonium, there certainly isn’t nearly enough to fuel a space probe. So this week it seemed […]

The post Where does the plutonium come from? appears on ScienceWonk, FAS’s blog for opinions from guest experts and leaders.

Pu-238 glowing with the heat of alpha radiation decay

Houston – we need some plutonium

The outer Solar System is a dark and lonely place – solar energy drops off with the inverse square of distance to the Sun so a spaceship in orbit around Jupiter (5.5 times as far from the Sun as the Earth) receives only about 3% as much solar energy as one orbiting Earth. Solar panels […]

The post Houston – we need some plutonium appears on ScienceWonk, FAS’s blog for opinions from guest experts and leaders.

mythbusters signs

Yucca Mountain: Questions and Concerns

Yucca Mountain raises a lot of controversy – let’s face it; if it didn’t then a 4-part series of blog postings would hardly be necessary. Part of the reason for the controversy is that there are a number of worries about the impact of spent fuel disposal on the environment and on the health of […]

The post Yucca Mountain: Questions and Concerns appears on ScienceWonk, FAS’s blog for opinions from guest experts and leaders.

Back to the basics: producing fissile materials

Fissile materials have been in the news a lot in recent years – Iran’s uranium enrichment program, North Korea’s continuing nuclear weapons program, the on-going nuclear security summit, and so forth. Given all of this attention this seems like a good time to talk about what fissile materials are and how they’re produced – and [...]

The post Back to the basics: producing fissile materials appears on ScienceWonk, FAS’s blog for opinions from guest experts and leaders.

About that Plutonium

By Dr. Y Every now and again plutonium makes the news. Traces of it were found in Japan after the Fukushima reactor accident in early 2011, traces were found in some uranium enrichment facilities in 1999, plutonium-contaminated lands were engulfed in wildfires near national laboratory facilities several times in the 1990s and 2000s, and a [...]

The post About that Plutonium appears on ScienceWonk, FAS’s blog for opinions from guest experts and leaders.