This paper describes a comparative methodology that is based on an equal amount of energy generated and an equal amount of weapons plutonium being burned or directly disposed of. The United States and Russia were in the midst of deciding how plutonium from surplus weapons should be disposed of so that it will never be used again to make nuclear weapons. This report discusses whether burning or direct disposal of weapons plutonium would generate more waste heat and consume more repository space. It should be of interest to analysts and policymakers in plutonium disposition and in nuclear nonproliferation. Waste heat has significant implications for repository space requirements and effective waste management.
This report is part of the RAND Corporation Paper series. The paper was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 2003 that captured speeches, memorials, and derivative research, usually prepared on authors' own time and meant to be the scholarly or scientific contribution of individual authors to their professional fields. Papers were less formal than reports and did not require rigorous peer review.
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