Generating Tritium Using Civilian Reactors

A Preliminary Evaluation of Alternative Concepts

by Kenneth A. Solomon


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The unintentional moratorium on tritium production in the United States began in early 1989. The continuing hiatus could affect government thinking, strategy, and action in three time frames. In the short term, strategies and tactical arms control might reduce the demand for tritium sufficiently to offset the decaying tritium supply. Since the time this Note was published, this very much appears to be the case. In the mid term, an interest is emerging in using civilian nuclear reactors to generate tritium. In the long term, a continuing hiatus in tritium production could bolster support for DoE plans to replace the aging Savannah River facilities. Since the time this Note was published, there has been and will likely continue to be a substantially decreasing nuclear weapons stockpile. Therefore, the decision of if and when to replace Savannah River could be postponed a number of years.

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