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Fast breeder

The fast breeder is a type of nuclear reactor designed primarily for the purpose of producing ("breeding") plutonium for use in nuclear weapons or for refueling of the reactor.

One design of a power reactor, specifically designed to address the waste disposal and plutonium issues, was the Integral Fast Breeder Reactor (a.k.a. Integral Fast Reactor)[1] (http://www.nuc.berkeley.edu/designs/ifr/)[2] (http://www.nationalcenter.org/NPA378). Being a "breeder" it was designed to be fueled ONCE, then produce all its own fuel during operation. To solve the waste disposal problem, it had an on site electrorefining[?] fuel reprocessing unit that recycled the uranium and all the transuranics (not just plutonium) via electroplating, leaving just short half-life fission products[?] in the waste. Some of these fission products could later be separated for industrial or medical uses and the rest sent to a waste repository (where they would not have to be stored for anywhere near as long as wastes containing long half-life transuranics). It would NOT be possible to divert fuel from this reactor to make bombs, as several of the transuranics spontaniously fission rapidly enough that any assembly would simply melt before it could be completed. The project was canceled in the late 1980s after all elements of the system had been tested, but before engineering designs could be completed for an operational power plant.

As of 2001, two fast breeders remained in operation worldwide, neither of which was in the United States. [3] (http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/nuregs/staff/sr1350/index)

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