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The terrorism risk of new geewhiz nuclear reactors – theme for August 14

The promoters of  the Integral Fast Reactors’ (IFRs),  Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor ( LFTR), and  Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) like to pretend that these geewhiz new schemes are quite different from the well known dirty, dangerous, and expensive nuclear power plants.

Note the way that they carefully leave out the word “nuclear” from the titles.

First of all – they depend on the whole vulnerable nuclear chain for their existence, anyway.


For now, I’ll leave aside those matters of Cost, Environment, Radioactive Wastes – and just look at the much touted Safety of these supposedly different new electricity producers.

PRISM (Power Reactor Innovative Small Modular) latest manifestation of much-hyped but non-existent   IFRs: It would require converting  plutonium oxide powder into a metal alloy, with uranium and zirconium. This would be a large-scale industrial activity on its own that would create  large amount of plutonium contaminated salt waste. This  plutonium metal would be even more vulnerable to theft for making bombs than the plutonium oxide.

Smaller versions of present-day pressurized water reactors, planned to be built underground, will be hard to get to, in an emergency situation. Pebble-bed reactors- high-temperature gas-cooled reactors (HTGRs) run risk of cracking of their tiny fuel kernels, and of temperature rise, resulting in Chernobyl-type graphite fire.

 Thorium The risks inherent in nuclear reactors are due to the massive concentrations of radioactive materials and the huge amount of heat they produce . No matter if the fuel is based on uranium or thorium, if it’s solid or liquid.  Thorium itself can’t be used as weapons fuel – but to be used in a nuclear reactor it has to be transmuted into the fissile uranium isotope, U-233, which can be used  for nuclear weapons.

While the entire chain leading to these new, and non-existent reactors carries terrorism risks, the end result is just as vulnerable or more so . In the case of Small Modular Reactors this means not just a few targets for terrorism, but multiple targets.   That means more safety regulations, more security guarding – and then of course – more costs too. It is  a particularly vicious cycle!





August 9, 2014 - Posted by | Christina's themes, safety

1 Comment »

  1. Comment received from Richard Wilcox
    Your graphics are nothing more than ZIONIST propaganda
    Dear C,

    Now you have another graphic portraying a “terrorist” as a threat to a nuclear plant.

    Yet the US is the world’s leading terrorist!

    Your image of a jihadi with a missile launcher portrays Muslims as the terrorists, whether you realize that or not, you are playing
    right into the Neocon/Zionist/Israeli Firster propaganda.

    It is well documented that ISIS was created and funded by the US/UK/Israel; as so with Al Queda and all the rest of the terrorists.

    Also, what is the real science about how vulnerable nuke plants are to what kinds of attacks? It seems obvious that if terrorists flew a drone into a nuke plant that could not be good. Who owns and uses the most drones? USA (Zionist controlled territory)

    You need to clarify this issue otherwise you come off as a Neocon apologists, and don’t resort to calling me an anti Semite please, that is just rubbish and a racist slur against a non Jew.

    All the best,


    Comment by Christina MacPherson | August 14, 2014 | Reply

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