Nuclear Power/Actinides.

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Question
Dear Bill

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Actinide
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_power

Other than Uranium and Thorium heavy elements, which other Actinides can be considered for generating nuclear power in a nuclear power plant ?.

Thanks & Regards,
Prashant S Akerkar

Answer
The only fuels that can be used in a nuclear reactor are U-233, U-235, and Pu-239.  Nuclear reactors depend on thermal fission  (fission created by neutrons that have slowed to thermal equilibrium in the core).  U-238 can undergo fission by fast neutrons  (high energy neutrons that have  not yet slowed to thermal equilibrium) but that makes control of the reactor impossible because the neutrons would cause fission before they could be absorbed by the control rods.
Th-232 is used in some reactor as a fertile material to breed (create) fissile U-233.

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Bill Mihalovits

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I can answer questions about general construction and safety of plants, specific questions about operations, training, reactor theory, and thermodynamics. Will also consider other aspects as requested.

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Over 33 years in the nuclear power field, licensed senior reactor operator, and instructor.

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