Home > Notable Peace News > The long-term problem of ‘peaceful’ plutonium | Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

The long-term problem of ‘peaceful’ plutonium | Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

In the early decades of the atomic age, using the enormous energy in plutonium atoms for the peaceful generation of electricity became a multibillion-dollar quest that shaped US energy research and development policies. In 1970, Glenn Seaborg, the discoverer of plutonium and then-chairman of the US Atomic Energy Commission, declared that “within the lifespan of a single generation this newcomer plutonium born on a humble research budget and cradled in a cigar box will have become the energy giant of the future.”

Seaborg and the AEC projected the growth of nuclear-powered electricity would be so great that global supplies of uranium would be exhausted, paving the way for the recovery of plutonium from spent power reactor fuel for the next generation of power plants, which would dot the global landscape. Seaborg estimated by the end of the 20th century, power reactors would  cumulatively produce 1,600 metric tons of plutonium with the potential to fuel half the nation’s electrical generation.

Read more here: The long-term problem of “peaceful” plutonium – Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

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