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In the early days of nuclear energy, enthusiasts talked about “breeder reactors” that could produce more fuel than they consumed, thereby offering mankind a virtually limitless supply of energy.

Breeders have been tried numerous times in the Western nations but have now been more or less put on indefinite postponement. The developing world is still giving it a try and may succeed in leapfrogging over the West in the development of the technology. Either way, it is still a long road ahead and it may be decades before they become common. The theoretical possibilities haven’t gone away but they still have a futuristic quality.

Tom Blees is the major exponent of fast reactors in this country.

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