Global Plutonium Production Capabilities with Civilian Research Reactors

Jochen Ahlswede, Martin B. Kalinowski, "Global Plutonium Production Capabilities with Civilian Research Reactors," Science & Global Security, 20, no. 2-3, (2012): 69-96.
This article deals with the plutonium production capabilities in civilian research reactors and the resulting proliferation risks. A complete record of all civilian research reactors located in Non-Nuclear Weapon States and de-facto Nuclear Weapon States is compiled and systematized according to their type. A discussion of the various production paths and scenarios for plutonium with those reactors follows. In order to derive an assessment with a broad coverage, partly diverse fleet of reactors, two designs representative of light water and heavy water moderated reactors (which account for 82 percent of the total installed capacity in Non-Nuclear Weapon States and de-facto Nuclear Weapon States) were chosen and included in burn-up calculations with the Monte Carlo code KENO V.a and Origen-S, both incorporated in the modular system Scale-6. The effective production rates in fuel elements as well as by irradiation of targets are then applied to calculate the capabilities of plutonium production of each considered research reactor. The results provide an overview of the proliferation relevance of the global research reactor fleet and its regional distribution.

Article access: Taylor & Francis Online | Free PDF

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