8.11 MSR’s, A proliferate problem?

One final point about MSR’s is the proliferation risk. As they can be used to breed U-233   (a potential nuclear bomb making material) this raises the risk of them being used by certain states as nuclear bomb factories. The supporters of MSR’s counter that the reactor’s CPP could be set up such as to make U-233 production impossible (the reactor would burn up all the U-233 in the core). The critics counter than a few screw turns from a suitably qualified engineer would undo such a setup.

My take on this is that it entirely depends on who you selling these reactors too. If the Russians are building MSR’s we have little to worry. Russia already has plutonium coming out of its ears and a multitude of means of making more of it. Yes, Russian engineers could easily modify a MSR to breed U-233 without the IAEA noticing (bear in mind North Korea and Israel managed to make Plutonium right under the IAEA’s noses), but I doubt they would do that. And would it make a huge difference to the geopolitical landscape if they did? On the other hand, if Iran suddenly announced plans to build a load of MSR’s……

Of course the LFTR fans will usually claim at this point that seperating out the various isotopes and chemical compounds would be very hard to do. An excellent point, but isn’t the whole point of the LFTR that such filtration can be done quite easily?…..obviously, both of these positions can’t be correct! You can’t have it both ways!

Chapter 8                                            Main Page

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