It will be comprised of a ~32 kilogram enriched uranium reactor
core (about the size of a circular oatmeal box) made from uranium metal going critical, and generating heat that will be transported by sodium heat pipes to Stirling engines that will produce electricity.
It started service in 1965 and produced energy from a Magnox uranium reactor
system for 26 years, ending its active life in 1991.
Dafna Linzer says in her article "Past Arguments Don't Square with Current Iran Policy," "Iran was also willing to pay an additional $1 billion for a 20 percent stake in a private uranium enrichment facility in the United States that would supply much of the uranium to fuel the reactors." We also provided Iran with "93% enriched uranium reactor
fuel," in the 1960's, according to Iranwatch.org.
The reactor would produce a fraction of 1% of the waste of a uranium reactor
and, as an added bonus, it could be used to burn existing nuclear waste, reducing its half-life, thus largely solving the problem of disposal.
As a result, Goldemberg argued, it would have been better for Brazil--without a reliable domestic enrichment capability--to opt for natural uranium reactors
The participants discussed ways to support the IAEA's efforts to reduce the use and trade of highly enriched uranium, while maintaining safe and secure standards during the conversion of highly enriched uranium reactors
to lowly enriched uranium and filling gaps to prevent terrorists from obtaining nuclear materials.
This limitation recently became an urgent issue for one of Canada's largest electricity providers, Ontario Power Generation, which needed to map wall thickness around welds in several hundred feedwater pipes in its Canada Deuterium Uranium reactors
. These components had complex 3D geometries.
Incidentally, a byproduct of uranium reactors
can be used to make nuclear weapons.
The beauty - and danger - of uranium reactors
is that they just keep running of their own accord.
Christiansen of the University of Copenhagen, studied how green rust contained neptunium, a waste product from uranium reactors
that can prove dangerous to human health if it seeps into groundwater--even millions of years after it is discarded at a repository.
Thorium reactors burn waste actinides, including plutonium generated in uranium reactors
, increasing power generation, while at the same time reducing problem waste.
Thorium is cheaper, easier to use and up to five times more abundant than uranium -and can also be used to dispose of radioactive waste created by traditional uranium reactors