You still have not got rid of your plutonium-239
; neptunium-237, a decay product of americium-241; and
The 'critical mass' of uranium-235 or plutonium-239
required for explosive fission is about 5kg.
To return to the nuclear decay analogy, Plutonium-239
always has a half-life of a little more than 24,000 years.
These neutrons convert the depleted uranium into plutonium-239
(breeding), which is then fissioned (burned) to produce energy.
On this understanding, a nuclear weapon is a contrivance for the rapid evolution of the energy produced by bringing together sub-critical masses of fissile material (either uranium-235 or plutonium-239
), together with some kind of delivery system.
AaAaAa Ball and Thornton suggest that Burma could be processing 8 kg (17.5 lb) of plutonium-239
a year by 2014, after which it could produce one atomic bomb per year.
Bomb: Codenamed Fat Man, it was made mainly of plutonium-239
and created a 21-kiloton blast.
A Congressional Research Service report on the threat pointed out that dirty bomb components are easier to detect than biological, chemical and even weapons-grade nuclear materials such as highly enriched uranium or plutonium-239
. The bad news is that there are many ways to smuggle radiological material into the United States besides ports.
After chemically removing the high-level wastes, the recoverable isotopes in spent fuels and their half lives are: Uranium-235 710 million years Uranium-238 4.5 billion years Plutonium-239
24.4 thousand years ([dagger]) Plutonium-240 6.6 thousand years ([dagger]) Plutonium-241 13.2 years ([dagger])
The committee has drafted plans for consolidating and disposing of plutonium-239
and for disposing of uranium-233.
(weapons-grade plutonium), which has a half-life of 24,000