The fuel of the future

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Electrical power to heat and light American homes and industries in the future will be furnished by plutonium. This program reports on plutonium, one of the eleven man-made elements, which as a future source of fuel will produce two million times more energy than coal. Plutonium did not exist on earth until less than a quarter-century ago when it was born in a nuclear reactor. Born in a wartime program to obtain material for the atomic bomb, plutonium is finding important peacetime uses because it is a potent nuclear fuel. In fact, 99 percent of all uranium that is mined must be converted into plutonium in a reactor in order for mankind to use its latent energy. It has been estimated that the reserve of uranium that can be converted into plutonium represents hundreds of times more energy than the nation’s combined reserves of coal, oil, and natural gas. Against this background of the importance of plutonium, the program shows some of the elaborate precautions that must be taken in handling it. Plutonium is highly toxic. It burns easily in air. Its metallurgical properties make it extremely difficult to work with. At the Plutonium Fabrication Building, the cameras capture the elaborate precautions employed, revealing how plutonium is combined with uranium and other elements and shaped into wire-thin rods of fuel. As the program points out, 25 years ago the word plutonium could not be found in the dictionary, but tomorrow – through scientific research – the word plutonium will be as common as the words coal and oil are today.
Norman Ross; Arthur Shuck; Frank Foote; David McElroy; Clifford Braun; John Suchy; Richard Puryear; Theodore Krohne; Ross-McElroy Productions; Argonne National Laboratory
National Educational Television; Indiana University Audio-Visual Center
Plutonium ; Plutonium as fuel.
National Educational Television
IUL Moving Image Archive
Rights Statement
No Copyright - United States
Physical Description
2 Films (0:00:00); 16mm
Other Identifiers
IULMIA Film Database: 40000003219310; Other: GR00456805; MDPI Barcode: 40000003219310; MDPI Barcode: 40000003219260

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This item is accessible by: the public.