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How to build a nuclear weapon with Thorium?
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Fusion Fred in Fractallan
science forum beginner


Joined: 08 Jul 2006
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Sat Jul 08, 2006 7:52 am    Post subject: How to build a nuclear weapon with Thorium? Reply with quote

X-No-Archive:yes

How can I turn Thorium into a fissile material for
a nuclear weapon?

Can it be enriched? How much do I need for a
bomb?

There is soooo much Thorium around, I think this
is an important question.
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Clemens W
science forum Guru Wannabe


Joined: 17 May 2005
Posts: 172

PostPosted: Sun Jul 09, 2006 11:09 am    Post subject: Re: How to build a nuclear weapon with Thorium? Reply with quote

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Fusion Fred in Fractalland wrote:
Quote:
How can I turn Thorium into a fissile material for
a nuclear weapon?

You can't. Thorium is not fissile.

Good luck,

A. Friend
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tadchem
science forum Guru


Joined: 03 May 2005
Posts: 1348

PostPosted: Sun Jul 09, 2006 5:06 pm    Post subject: Re: How to build a nuclear weapon with Thorium? Reply with quote

A. Friend wrote:
Quote:
X-No-Archive:yes

Fusion Fred in Fractalland wrote:
How can I turn Thorium into a fissile material for
a nuclear weapon?

You can't. Thorium is not fissile.

but it *is* fissionable,
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thorium
and can be used as a fuel for subcritical reactors - reactors which are
driven by an external source of neutrons:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Subcritical_reactor

These reactors are melt-down-proof.

Tom Davidson
Richmond, VA
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Clemens W
science forum Guru Wannabe


Joined: 17 May 2005
Posts: 172

PostPosted: Mon Jul 10, 2006 4:16 am    Post subject: Re: How to build a nuclear weapon with Thorium? Reply with quote

tadchem wrote:
Quote:
A. Friend wrote:
X-No-Archive:yes

Fusion Fred in Fractalland wrote:
How can I turn Thorium into a fissile material for
a nuclear weapon?

You can't. Thorium is not fissile.

but it *is* fissionable,
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thorium

You'd have to breed Uranium first.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thorium#Thorium_as_a_nuclear_fuel
| Although not fissile itself, 232Th will absorb slow neutrons
| to produce uranium-233 (233U), which is fissile. Hence,
| like 238U, it is fertile.

Quote:
These reactors are melt-down-proof.
So, still no bomb. You'd have to extract the 233U after it's bred,

which is not exactly easy to do.

Then, of course... well, we all know hot to build a thermonuclear
device with enough uranium at hand ;-)

Good luck,

A. Friend
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tadchem
science forum Guru


Joined: 03 May 2005
Posts: 1348

PostPosted: Wed Jul 12, 2006 11:43 pm    Post subject: Re: How to build a nuclear weapon with Thorium? Reply with quote

A. Friend wrote:

Quote:
So, still no bomb. You'd have to extract the 233U after it's bred,
which is not exactly easy to do.

Then, of course... well, we all know hot to build a thermonuclear
device with enough uranium at hand Wink

The "dirty bomb' is also a concern. Set off a kilo of RDX inside a
barrel of thoria or yellow cake, and you will render a pretty large
area uninhabitable, especially if you do it at altitude and if the wind
is right.

Tom Davidson
Richmond, VA
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Clemens W
science forum Guru Wannabe


Joined: 17 May 2005
Posts: 172

PostPosted: Thu Jul 13, 2006 11:59 am    Post subject: Re: How to build a nuclear weapon with Thorium? Reply with quote

tadchem wrote:
Quote:
The "dirty bomb' is also a concern. Set off a kilo of RDX inside a
barrel of thoria or yellow cake, and you will render a pretty large
area uninhabitable, especially if you do it at altitude and if the wind
is right.

Thorium-232 and either Uran-235 or -238 have a quite long half-life,
which means very little activity. I'd prefer to use a more active
material. Pu-238, Sr-90 and Co-60 come right to my mind. Especially
Co-60 is relatively easy to aquire.

Good luck,

A: Friend
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