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Is the Thorium Fuel Cycle a Proliferation Risk?

When U-233 is used as a nuclear fuel, it is inevitably contaminated with uranium-232, which decays rather quickly (78 year half-life) and whose decay chain includes thallium-208.

Thallium-208 is a “hard” gamma emitter, which makes any uranium contaminated with U-232 nearly worthless for nuclear weapons.

There has never been an operational nuclear weapon that has used U-233 as its fissile material, despite the ease of manufacturing U-233 from abundant natural thorium.

U-233 with very low U-232 contamination could be generated in special reactors like Hanford, but not in reactors that use the U-233 as fuel.

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