Article ID: CBB837463109

Reckless Proliferation and Guardianship Proliferation: The Fast Breeder Nuclear Reactor and the Plutonium Economy (July 2019)


This article examines the history of the fast breeder reactor as a forerunner technology in three Western nuclear nations—the United States, the United Kingdom, and France—to clarify just how this charismatic technology changed the nuclear landscape. Did the adoption of fast reactors tip the nuclear balance toward a plutonium economy? And what were the interconnections between the production of plutonium for nuclear reactors and plutonium for atomic bombs? The conclusions reached differentiate between the decentralized and liberal U.S. plutonium economy from the British and the French state-controlled economies largely serving military interests. This furthermore conveys how the usage of plutonium made criticism of nuclear power both systematic and inclusive by tying together technological, political, and social risks and establishing a common bond between anti-breeder policies and environmental concerns.

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Authors & Contributors
Camp, Michael
Ward, Jacob
Henning, Lori A.
Taylor Simon
Markku Lehtonen
O'Reagan, Douglas Michael
IA. The Journal of the Society for Industrial Archeology
Technology and Culture
Science as Culture
Public Understanding of Science
ProQuest Dissertations and Theses
Physics in Perspective
UIT Cambridge
University of Oklahoma Press
Presses Universitaires de Rennes
Oxford University Press
Joseph Henry Press
Johns Hopkins University Press
Cross-national comparison
Nuclear reactors
Nuclear and radioactive waste
Development of technology; change in technology
Nuclear weapons; atomic weapons
Hinton, Christopher, Lord
Time Periods
20th century
21st century
20th century, late
19th century
20th century, early
United States
Great Britain
United Kingdom
Atlantic Ocean
Société de Statistique de Paris
Statistical Society of London
Great Britain. Army
Hanford Nuclear Site (Washington)
United States. Army
U.S. Atomic Energy Commission

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