# Is it possible to run out of uranium and plutonium if it is all used for nuclear power?

i was wondering, when using nuc pow, can you run out of uranium and plutonium? or does it not destroy the uranium and plutonium?

Technically speaking, one always run out of plutonium, because it has to be made. Plutonium is the result of non-fissile U238 absorbing a neutron (that is usually done in a nuclear reactor) and turning into Pu239 as a result.

It is indeed true that using up uranium in a nuclear reactor reduced the overall quantity of uranium available. However, uranium contains so much energy and is thus used at such a slow rate that actual reserves (easily and cheaply accessible) would last thousands of years. Moreover, if the much more abundant U238 is systematically converted to plutonium in breeder reactors, you can multiply the period during which nuclear energy would be very cheap by a factor of 10 or more (so we are talking tens of thousand of years).
And after that, there is thorium, which can be converted into uranium, and now we are talking about hundred of thousand of years.
So, yes, we will eventually run out of the stuff on this planet. But it is not going to be soon.
no.Uranium decomposes into plutonium.
thats why theres such a fuss about nuclear waste
not realistically

there are 440 reactors operating today.
each reactor requires 25,000 kg of 3.75% U235 per year.

annual consumption of u235 = 440 x 25000 x .0375 =
412500 kg U235

the earths crust contains approximately 1 x 10^17 kg uranium which contains .7% U235

so amount of U235 available = 1 x 10^17 x .007 = 7x10^14

so years of U235 available = 7 x 10^14 / 412500

= approximately 2 x 10^9.

ie 2 billion years.

of course if we consider the half life of U235 of .7 billion years, we have at least a billion years of uranium available..

Plutonium can be created from Uranium 238. of which there is about 1 x 10^17 kg available and plutonium is generally not the fuel in nuclear reactors. So there is an indefinite supply.

salforddude.. don't know what to say dude except... uranium being an element doesn't decompose, it decays. Plutonium at 239 amu is not in the uranium decay chain.
http://www.atral.com/u2381.html...

bombardment of U238 with deuterons (deuterium nuclei) or neutrons does produce Plutonium (such as in a breeder reactor)

as to problems with nuclear waste, that's a different topic entirely.
We have breeder reactors that can make fissionable fuel for nuclear reactors.

There is research on recycling nuclear waste but it is not economic to so so.
Yes it is possible to run out of uranium and plutonium; uranium is an ore that is mined and plutonium is created from uranium. Over time, just like oil, both could be depleted. However, if you are only talking about when in the reactor, it is unlikely the reactor will "run out" of fuel under the current reactor designs. Currently, reactors only use about 5 percent of the available uranium in a fuel rod before it has to be replaced. Also, yes the fission process does "destroy" the uranium through the fission process.

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