Price of Plutonium

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Bibliographic Entry Result
(w/surrounding text)
Standardized
Result
Makhijani, Arjun. Plutonium as an Energy Source. Institute for Energy and Environmental Research. February 1997. "Since the energy per fission from Pu-239 and U-235 is about the same, the theoretical fuel value of fissile Pu is $5600 per gram. Reactor grade Pu also contains non-fissile isotopes, reducing its value to about $4400 per gram." $4400-5600
per gram
Price of Weapons-Grade Plutonium Hits an All-Time High. CAP News. Spring 2008. [Editor's note: This is a satirical website.] "The price of weapons-grade Plutonium surged $200 over the past three weeks to an all-time high of just over $4,000 per gram, according to an international survey. And with the start of terrorist season just around the corner, prices are not expected to drop anytime soon." $4000
per gram
Bernstein, Jeremy. Reading List: Plutonium. Fourmilog: None Dare Call It Reason. 26November 2007. "The price for plutonium-239 quoted on p. 155, US$5.24 per milligram, seems to imply that the plutonium for a critical mass of about 6 kg costs about 31 million dollars." $5240
per gram
Plutonium Certified Reference Materials Price List. U.S. Department of Energy. Fall 2007. [see table 1 below] $4000
per gram
Certified Reference Materials Price List. U.S. Department of Energy. Fall 2007. [see table 2 below] $4000
per gram

Plutonium is an artificial,radioactive, metallic and toxic chemical element. It has only two main uses: a source of nuclear energy and a source of nuclear weaponry. It is very sought after by terrorists and various developing nations for their plans of nuclear arms production. The “Fat Man” bomb dropped in Nagasaki, Japan in 1945 that killed 40,000 people instantly and killed thousands more in the following years from fallout, consisted of a plutonium-239 core.

In 2008, the price of plutonium has drastically increased since the 1990s, but was relatively expensive during the Cold War. Over the last three weeks, the price of weapon-grade plutonium has surged 200 dollars to 4000 dollars per gram, or even more for rarer grades. By these estimates, the mass plutonium needed for the average nuclear bomb, or about 6 kg goes for about thirty-one million dollars.

So one day if your inner-terrorist decides to come out, remember this very important fact: plutonium is extremely expensive. Its super high price of several thousands of dollars per gram means that in most cases a single terrorist would not be able to afford it. But a terrorist organization and a national government in today's world could easily afford it.

Table 1
Type* CRM Description (nominal values) Size/Unit Price
A, I 122 Plutonium Oxide PuO2 (87.79% Pu; 87% Pu-239) 1g $4,000
A, I 126-A Plutonium Metal Standard
(0.99960 g Pu/g; 94% Pu-239)
1g Pu Call for details
I 128 Plutonium 239:242 Isotopic, Nitrate
(0.99937 Pu-239/Pu-242)
1 mg Pu $1,200
A, I 130 Plutonium-242 Spike, Nitrate
(99.95% Pu-242)
1 mg Pu $1,500
I 136 Plutonium Isotopic, 12% Pu-240 0.25g Pu $4,000
I 137 Plutonium Isotopic, 18% Pu-240 0.25g Pu $4,000
I 138 Plutonium Isotopic, 8% Pu-240 0.25g Pu $4,000

 

Table 2
Type* CRM Description (nominal values) Size/Unit Price
A, I 122 Plutonium Oxide PuO2 (87.79% Pu; 87% Pu-239) 1g $4,000
A, I 126-A Plutonium Metal Standard
(0.99960 g Pu/g; 94% Pu-239)
1g Pu Call for Details
I 128 Plutonium 239:242 Isotopic, Nitrate
(0.99937 Pu-239/Pu-242)
1 mg Pu $1,200
I 136 Plutonium Isotopic, 12% Pu-240 0.25g Pu $4,000
I 137 Plutonium Isotopic, 18% Pu-240 0.25g Pu $4,000
I 138 Plutonium Isotopic, 8% Pu-240 0.25g Pu $4,000

Andrew Morel -- 2008


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