b'P ROVING THE P RINCIPLECarter decided to eliminate as many flowed more or less from the revela- metal formshould be part of the recy-opportunities for the proliferation of tions of science. Society and the envi- cling process. Till said later,nuclear weapons as possible. He perma- ronment had been forced to adaptnently canceled construction of a com- accordingly. Perhaps it was time that a Metal fuel had a number of advantages.mercial fuel reprocessing plant at reactor design meet the specifications It was cheap, easy to make. The LMFBRBarnwell, South Carolina. Henceforth, of society. 36 fuel was expensive and it needed a hugespent fuel had to be stored in heavily expensive facility for re p rocessing thatshielded facilities at power plants or That was Tills insight. As he compared might be economic if it could serve fiftyelsewhere. Hoping to enlist the rest of Clinch Rivers oxide fuel to other big reactors, but the problem was get -the international nuclear community in types, its many disadvantages became ting from the first to the fiftieth. the cause, Carter then supported an startlingly clear. For one thing, the fuelInternational Nuclear Fuel Cycle would have to be reprocessed usingEvaluation (INFCE), a technical study technology that would purify the pluto-of the characteristicsincluding their nium, an imagined opportunity forpotential attraction for illicit diver- diversion. Till returned to the idea of asionof reactor fuels in use around the metal fuel along the lines that the EBR-world. Carter opposed the Clinch River II team had been developingandbreeder demonstration, although recycling on-sitebefore Milton ShawCongress continued to fund it. Ronald had truncated its progress. The oldReagan defeated Carter and threw his EBR-II fuel was uranium, substantiallysupport behind Clinch River, but the enriched, but uranium only. A new fuelgovernments investment in the project should contain a mix of uranium and INEEL 98-0537was rising at an unacceptable rate. plutonium because the fissile material Above. Well-guarded bunker at the Chem PlantCongress ended the project in 1983. 35 created in the reactor would include (CPP-651) stores uranium. Below. Operating floor of plutonium, and the plutoniumin EBR-II reactor (inside the dome).With reprocessing activities canceleddue to fears of proliferation, ClinchRiver canceled because of spiralingcosts, and anxiety about radioactivewaste generating political protests allover the country, the old template forthe progress of uranium was renderedcompletely obsolete.Still, the situation offered someone anopportunity to be brilliant. The death ofClinch River, the fuel for which was tobe a uranium oxide, opened the door toa new way of thinking about breeders.At Argonne, physicist Charles Till tookcharge of Argonnes nuclear reactorprogram in 1980. Earlier, he had direct-ed the technical work of one ofINFCEs working groups. Up untilnow, the evolution of reactors hadArgonne National Laboratory-West CC5262232'