Going Nuclear Episode 7 – Plutonium Production

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The final part of my original plan, covering how plutonium is made for use in weapons, collected and compiled from public sources, this covers the isotopes and how they’re transformed by neutron bombardment and radioactive decay.

Thanks to https://twitter.com/ICBMDeputy for the Sandia Labs Shirt!


sloth jr says:

Scott – for your next family vacation, why not EBR-1, west of Idaho Falls?

B.B. Does the Thing says:

I feel like by watching this video i just upped my odds of getting put on a watch list.

Daniel Vredevoogd says:

Could you share a link to the background music?

Jays200 says:

f*** me, must have had too many ciders tonight 😉 that was hurting my already hurt head. Jokes aside, nice wort Scott.

Dániel Szőcs says:

Sorry if it has been asked already, but may I ask where is this White Dwarf Supernova simulation coming from? I mean what software was used for it? It looks both awesome 🙂 and also awfully powerful (computationally expensive) :O

Quadg says:

you needed to mention the Windscale fire..
to show how stupidly dangerous those breeder piles were….

oxygen cooled piles of hot uranium and flammable graphite… what could go wrong?

cat637d says:

Scott, your work on the videos is exemplary!

Robert Lilly says:

Scott, I love the emphasis on "tender loving" care. There is no substitute for craftsmanship in some things – the Chinese slipshod charletans and the Silicon valley drones be damned. Great video – thank you so much for YOUR research and craftsmanship.

Sean McDonough says:

6:05 – What did they do if a spent fuelrod got stuck on the way down?

Sean McDonough says:

3:29 – Air-cooled nuclear reactor: REALLY BAD IDEA.

Micky Bee says:

I think it was the Marshallian Islanders that said, (and I paraphrase), "Modern man is very clever at being stupid!" To me; it seems the distance between sanity, genius, stupidity and insanity – is a 1 Planck unit gap.

Alejandro Ruiz says:

Hi Scott. I've just recently discover your channel and I love it. First of all, thanks for it.

Specifically talking about the series "Going Nuclear", I have to say … It's awesome. And just for that, I dare to ask you about a related topic. Could you make some video (a series could be necessary) about the different nuclear fuels that could be used in the new generation reactors? I mean, fast breeders reactors for thorium or even for plutonium in order to use the full potential of our resources. It would be nice too talking about the different reactor designs if you feel like it.

Basil Sandhurst says:


Steve E says:

Actually , the chemical processing building (The canyon) is directly behind X-10.

joshua logan says:

This is cool science for sure. How every this area is also very nasty. Alot of people that work around this equipment go on to suffer latter in life. Hearing my grandfather's stories of working in a nuclear power plant is troubling. Hopefully we will not half to use this in any weapons in the forseeable future.

Spikes says:

Isnt the half life and issues with plutonium the reason the US is now making all their future weapons out of Uranium?

NeverTalkToCops1 says:

Thank you Scott, excellent work.

mattsgrungy says:

I'd love for you to do a video or small series about what happened in the various nuclear accidents in a similar style to this series 🙂

Matthew Friesz says:

I see you have an interest in this topic… I'd recommend a trip to Hanford sometime soon, very fascinating. You have to get on a list to visit the B-Reactor, not sure when that opens up for 2019. If you want to make a long(er) road trip out of it, a visit to EBR-I at the Idaho National Lab would be in order. They have the only 2 nuclear jet aircraft engines ever built (debatable) on display there as well!

Ferdian Suryadinata says:

Is it possible to use uranium to power rocket booster??

Kugelblitzer says:

North Korea has joined the server

Karl the Pagan says:

8:56 event prompt criticality does not naturally lead to an explosion of the heavy metals. For that to occur you need prompt criticality (like Chernobyl – which was a steam explosion) and the implosion effects you described earlier in the series.

Neale Scott says:

why isn’t there a Jupitonium???

Ace Weldon says:

7:36 – Just love how these guys are using a very similar model of pallet jack to move the plutonium powered generator around that Walmart (and many, many other places) uses to move pallets of dog food around.

Ivan Cenke says:

I thought that breeder reactors irradiate uranium "blanket" to produce plutonium, not rods.

Phy says:

All of the decent inorganic chemists are on watchlists, and organic chemists…

MuldenMulch says:

Safe NucPlants! Like Thorium salt reactors! That would be amazing! The products do "only" have a half-life of 300 yrs, so the engineering task for waste storage is vastly easier. Thorium is much more abundant as U too.

Mattthesparky says:

Loved the evil supergenius manner in which you signed off after mentioning the WMDs today Scott.

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