Nuclear reactor which uses fast neutrons to convert uranium to plutonium and which creates more fuel than it uses. A chain reaction is set up in which 238U, with an initial charge of 239Pu to begin the fission process, discards fast neutrons each of which induces fission in another nucleus. Excess 239Pu is produced where plutonium production exceeds rate of fission. About 60% of fuel elements in fast breeder reactors is converted to useful energy compared to 0.5–1% in burner reactors. Plutonium can be recycled, but other radioactive products are waste. See radioactive waste.
Subjects: Ecology and Conservation — Earth Sciences and Geography.