World Inventory of Plutonium and Highly Enriched Uranium, 1992

World Inventory of Plutonium and Highly Enriched Uranium, 1992

by David Albright, William Walker, Frans Berkhout
     
 

Plutonium and highly enriched uranium (HEU) were first introduced fifty years ago. In the Manhattan project the amounts separated were measured in kilograms, enough for the first atomic bombs. Today there are about 1000 tons of plutonium and 1300 tons of HEU in existence, the result of the great expansion of nuclear weapon and nuclear power programmes in recent

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Overview

Plutonium and highly enriched uranium (HEU) were first introduced fifty years ago. In the Manhattan project the amounts separated were measured in kilograms, enough for the first atomic bombs. Today there are about 1000 tons of plutonium and 1300 tons of HEU in existence, the result of the great expansion of nuclear weapon and nuclear power programmes in recent decades. Controlling and disposing of these vast quantities is now one of the most serious challenges facing the international community.

Despite the great significance of plutonium and HEU for international security and nuclear commerce, there are no international statistics on these materials. Information on them is generally classified in countries possessing or trying to acquire nuclear weapons, and holders of civil materials only give information to safeguards agencies on condition that it remains confidential. This book fills the gap. It provides for the first time a comprehensive and authoritative assessment of the amounts of plutonium and HEU in military and civilian programmes, country by country.

World Inventory of Plutonium and Highly Enriched Uranium 1992 is based on knowledge of how nuclear reactors, reprocessing and enrichment plants have been operated around the world. Step by step, it explains how civil and military nuclear programmes have been run, which technologies and facilities have been used, and what has happened to the materials produced by them. It details the huge amounts of plutonium and HEU that will be extracted from dismantled weapons as the United States and the former Soviet Union reduce their nuclear arsenals, and the equally large amounts of plutonium that will be separated from civil fuels in Britain, France, Japan and Russia if reprocessing plans are implemented. It also contains the most thorough examination yet of the efforts by Iraq, Israel, Pakistan, India and a few other countries to acquire the materials needed to build nuclear weapons. And throughout, the book points out the main uncertainties over the quantities and whereabouts of these vital materials.

The book ends by stressing the need to end the over-supply of civil plutonium and to develop plans for disposing of surplus stocks of both plutonium and HEU. Much of the plutonium will have to be treated as a waste, while the HEU can be diluted and used as nuclear fuel. It also calls on the international community to end the secrecy surrounding these materials. The United Nations should publish annual statistics on every country's holdings of plutonium and HEU, including materials in nuclear weapon states.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780198291534
Publisher:
Oxford University Press, USA
Publication date:
04/08/1993
Series:
A SIPRI Publication Series
Pages:
272
Product dimensions:
6.31(w) x 9.44(h) x 0.87(d)

Meet the Author

Table of Contents

Preface
Acknowledgements
Glossary
Abbreviations, acronyms and conventions
Pt. IIntroduction
1Reasons, aims and sources3
IIFour security contexts3
IIIThe need for greater transparency4
IVThe limits to accuracy6
VThe scope of the book7
2Characteristics of highly enriched uranium and plutonium and their production processes9
IIHighly enriched uranium9
IIIPlutonium14
Pt. IIMilitary inventories in the nuclear weapon states
3Inventories of military plutonium in the nuclear weapon states25
IIThe production process25
IIIMethods of estimating military plutonium inventories28
IVThe United States31
VThe former Soviet Union36
VIThe United Kingdom41
VIIFrance44
VIIIChina46
4Weapon-grade uranium inventories in nuclear weapon states47
IIOverview of enrichment programmes47
IIIThe United States48
IVThe former Soviet Union53
VChina60
VIThe United Kingdom63
VIIFrance66
Pt. IIIPrincipal civil inventories
5Plutonium produced in power reactors71
IIThe fuel cycle in civil reactor systems72
IIIFuelling strategy and fuel burn-up74
IVA sketch of methods76
VDischarges of spent fuel from civil reactors79
6Reprocessing programmes and plutonium arisings84
IReprocessing in the nuclear fuel cycle84
IIThe evolution of fuel-cycle strategies85
IIIA sketch of methods89
IVOverview of power-reactor fuel reprocessing89
VCommercial reprocessing programmes91
VISummary of past power- and fast-reactor fuel reprocessing109
VIIProjections of plutonium separation to 2010113
7Commercial and research and development uses of plutonium117
IIFast-reactor fuel cycles118
IIIPlutonium use in fast reactors119
IVPast and projected plutonium consumption in fast reactors119
VPlutonium use in thermal reactors129
VINational programmes for thermal plutonium recycle131
VIISummary of plutonium use in thermal reactors: past and projected138
VIIICommercial and R&D plutonium use compared with quantities separated140
8Civil highly enriched uranium inventories144
IICivil HEU suppliers144
IIIReactors using HEU fuels, 1992145
IVConverting to low-enriched uranium fuels145
VReprocessing of HEU fuels146
VICivil HEU inventories147
Pt. IVMaterial inventories and production capabilities in the threshold states
9De facto nuclear weapon states: Israel, India and Pakistan153
IIsrael153
IIIndia157
IIIPakistan162
10Countries of concern: Iraq, North Korea, Iran and Algeria168
IIraq168
IINorth Korea173
IIIFrance175
IVAlgeria177
11Countries backing away from nuclear weapons: Argentina, Brazil, South Africa and Taiwan179
IIArgentina and Brazil179
IIISouth Africa185
IVTaiwan190
Pt. VConclusions
12Overview of present and future stocks of plutonium and highly enriched uranium195
IInventories at the end of 1990195
IITypes of inventory197
IIILocation of inventories by NPT status198
IVMaterial under international safeguards200
VPossible future trends in plutonium and HEU inventories203
13Two policy issues210
IThe need for an international register of plutonium and HEU210
IIThe management of plutonium and HEU surpluses214
Appendix A. Enrichment technologies219
Appendix B. Calculation of plutonium production in power reactors222
Appendix C. Separation of plutonium from power reactor fuel at reprocessing plants229
Appendix D. Research reactors (>1 MWth) using HEU fuel

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