There’s that plutonium again:
It seems only a month since I was squawking about how we had evidently forced Japan to give up her plutonium stocks.  She was keeping that stuff for research, but we wanted to give Iran a problem, and Iran was doing the same thing.  So we made Japan dump hers.

And now, wait for it (Alexandra Witze, Deperately Seeking Plutonium NATURE vol. 515 no. 7528 November 27, 2024 page 484), we’re running out.  We use the stuff to make sub-critical nuclear reactors to power our space probes.  Maybe a pound or two will power a 100 watt light bulb and generate about the heat of your kitchen oven to keep the inside warmish, but that’s about what you’re going to get – plenty for most robots but hardly the kind of energy for our much tooted Mars mission of someday or other. 

And we can’t make the stuff.  Oh, that’s being addressed.  They are getting the older technologists to show them how it used to be done.  But nobody sees us being able to power more than about one unmanned vehicle a year any time soon.

It’s a pity we didn’t simply but Japan’s supply while we could, eh?  So now what?  I guess we’ll have to ask Iran if they very kindly will sell us theirs.

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