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A discussion of the unexpected growth of nonmilitary nuclear capacity and certain related political problems concerning the spread of nuclear weapons. Plutonium-fueled "fast breeder" reactor systems, which "breed" more plutonium than they consume, are expected to be in wide and general use for generation of electric power in industrial countries by the year 2000. Since plutonium is one of the two important nuclear explosives and can be easily adapted for use in weapons, its increasing availability as it becomes essential to the industrial life of advanced countries will create grave problems for architects of nuclear policy. It will be necessary to make the plutonium in civilian reactors unavailable for military purposes without impairing its nonmilitary usefulness or encroaching on the industrial independence of owners of this fissile material.

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