Talk:Breeder reactor

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Lead section[edit]

The lead section needs to better comply with WP:Lead. It is far too long and doesn't present a good summary of the article. And some statements are incorrect, for example, "nuclear waste became a greater concern by the 1990s". In fact, the absence of a working waste management facility became an important issue in the US by the mid-1970s:

In 1976, the California Energy Commission announced that it would not approve any more nuclear plants unless the utilities could specify fuel and waste disposal costs, an impossible task without decision on reprocessing, spent fuel storage and waste disposal. By the late 1970s, over thirty states had passed legislation regulating various activities associated with nuclear waste.[1]


  1. ^ John Byrne and Steven M. Hoffman (1996). Governing the Atom: The Politics of Risk, Transaction Publishers, p. 219.

Pu breeding in the[edit]

re [1] [2] [3] [4]

The reactor type discussed there is the Thermal breeder reactor which, in this article at least, is referring to a thorium and U233 fuel cycle. This is not the type of reactor used in the nuclear weapons programmes, to breed Pu from U238. Even though those reactors are also "thermal" and "breeder" reactors, they're not the same thing.

There's probably scope for a section in this article on breeding by that route, but this isn't the place for it.

@ Andy Dingley (talk) 10:14, 28 April 2018 (UTC)

I think it is an important part of history, because i keep hearing from people: You need fast breeders to produce nuclear weapons. And then they refer to this very article. While indeed there has NEVER been any nuclear weapon been built in a fast breeder, because all and every single one came from a thermal moderated breeding reactor. (talk) 11:19, 28 April 2018 (UTC)

It's an important part of history. It belongs in this article. It doesn't belong in that section of this article.
Also, the French? They breed like lapin. Where's French weapons grade Pu coming from? Andy Dingley (talk) 13:34, 28 April 2018 (UTC)

It does not need to be a whole article, it´s just the mention that moderated thermal neutrons tend to breed PU 239 and were used for that purpose in history. I think it can be there, but feel free to insert it anywhere. France is a special case, they did not build reactors for the purpose of breeding nukes. However light water reactors inevitably breed some plutonium. Most french plutonium comes from La Hague, where they dismantle all the burned up rods from Europe. (talk) 13:48, 28 April 2018 (UTC)

  • Ita140188 has reverted your addition. I would not disagree with that, as it was unsourced and unclear.
I think we need a new section adding here, on the deliberate breeding of Pu for nuclear weapons. Especially in the early days. This should cover the following topics:
  • The first US Pu production reactors under Manhattan
  • The Pu240 issue
  • The British 'dual use' reactors at Calder Hall
  • Production in the USSR and France
  • Modern production, its dedicated reactors today, the general lack of military Pu production, owing to the vast existing stockpile.
  • Modern concerns for nuclear proliferation, and the monitoring of operating cycles of claimed 'civil' reactors.
This should be a lightweight section, linking to a real article at weapons-grade plutonium (currently a redirect to a short section at Weapons-grade nuclear material) or production of weapons-grade plutonium. This article is about reactor types, not military plutonium. But there is an overlap. Andy Dingley (talk) 08:28, 30 April 2018 (UTC)