Date: Tue, 03 Jul 2007 18:54:14 -0700

From: "Russell 'Ace' Hoffman" <>
Subject: How to make a nuclear bomb

July 3rd, 2007

Dear Readers,

I'm happy to report the Q&A has been translated into Spanish and is available at the web site at:

I am grateful to Germán Leyens for doing the translation.  Also, a few additional comments were posted at the OpEd News web site this morning.  My responses appear below, with the comments.


Ace Hoffman
Carlsbad, CA

Op Ed News web page:

New Comments at OpEd News web site:

nuclear proliferation

A reactor is not required to proliferate nuclear weapons.  The easiest way to create an atomic bomb is with enriched uranium which does not require a reactor.  That is the way the Hiroshima bomb was made and it is the reason why the Iranian enrichment program is a threat.  Reactors are required to make plutonium which is the very difficult way to make an atomic weapon because you have to separate it from the highly radioactive fission products.

by prc (0 articles, 1 comments) on Tuesday, July 3, 2007 at 11:39:17 AM


Dude, you're way off...

That's right, PRC... you don't need a reactor to make uranium bombs.

Actually most of the things listed in this article are false.   I'm not sure where you are getting information... but you're way off.  I would talk to an authority on the subject before posting anything else in the future; I know I got directed to this piece because someone was making fun of all the errors that were made.

by evilpixie (0 articles, 1 comments) on Tuesday, July 3, 2007 at 2:29:09 PM

My Response:

The comment by "prc" is a technicality, since most "modern" nuclear weapons use plutonium and tritium, products of nuclear reactors.  The comment by "Evil Pixie" doesn't have any substance to respond to (yawn).

It's true that you can make a 1940s-style A-bomb by enriching mined uranium over and over thousands of times, at a cost of tens-of-billions-of-dollars, utilizing a large quantity and variety of chemicals and poisoning the earth terribly, especially the land downwind of the facility, and the water downstream.  And it's true the reprocessing spent reactor fuel is even dirtier.

But either way, you will invariably SAY you are doing it for your nuclear power plants, in order to make electricity.

Terrorists can steal Highly Enriched Uranium ("HEU") from so-called "research" reactors.

No country builds nuclear power plants without fooling itself, either by pretending the unsolvable problem of nuclear waste will be solved, or by pretending that the world is so vast, that if some other country agrees to take the radioactive waste away, it magically disappears from humanity.

Even in Iran, where gasoline, we're told, is still only 38 cents a gallon in 2007, they somehow seem to think they need nuclear power plants and a uranium enrichment facility.  Curious indeed.

NPPs don't generate ANY electricity compared to the cost of the loss for other uses of all the materials they irradiate, the cost of caring for all the spent fuel waste they generate, the potential catastrophic costs associated with all the worst-case scenarios, and compared to the cost in democracy and health care of all the employees and members of the public the Nuclear Mafia first befuddle, then irradiate, and then kill.

In addition, using uranium to boil water to turn steam turbines isn't a very efficient way to generate electricity, so most of the energy held within the uranium is still wasted in ANY nuclear power plant that splits the atom to boil water.  A more efficient method IS still the dream of "top-notch" nuclear scientists and engineers.  But what's holding them back is the same problem the scientists who are studying how to deal with nuclear waste keep running into:  Radiation destroys -- at the atomic level -- whatever you have near it.

What NPPs do well is disrupt the power supply with up to 1,150 megawatts of sudden dropouts and near-death experiences.  That's why geeks like me have spent billions of dollars, collectively, on UPSs (Uninterruptible Power Supplies) for their computers -- because America's power grid in unreliable, because the energy isn't produced by a million small sources.

Instead our electricity comes from 104 unreliable nukes, at an average of about 800 megawatts each, and about 600 coal plants, at an average of about 500 megawatts each.  Both drop out unexpectedly, and together constitute about 60% of our electricity generation, the rest being mainly (in descending order) gas, hydro, and oil, plus a very tiny amount (<1%) from ALL renewables other than hydro.

We got ourselves into this mess.  The question is:  Can we dig ourselves out?  My governor is doing his part:  He's converted his Hummers to run on alternative fuels!

America can and should lead the world in designing and manufacturing the green revolution.  But we can't make the conversion if we love nuclear to death.


You COULD do a lot of things.  You could build nuclear-powered airplanes that could stay aloft for months at a time.  Nuclear wrist-watches that never need winding!  But it always comes back to:  What happens when the nuclear poison, often in the form of a poison vapor, gets out?

Contact information for "Ace:"