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1570s, "one who produces or originates," agent noun from breed (v.). Meaning "one who breeds cattle" or some other animal is recorded from 1530s. Of nuclear reactors, from 1948. As a scornful homosexual term for "heterosexual person," attested from 1986.
|breeder reactor |
A nuclear reactor that is used to create fissionable material (such as plutonium-239) by exposing nonfissionable material (such as uranium-238) to radiation. The source of the radiation is usually some other fissionable material. Breeder reactors produce more fissionable material than they use up.
Note: Breeder reactors are designed to produce more fuel than they consume.
Note: The development of the breeder reactor has been stopped in the United States, but continues to be pursued in Europe and Japan.
A heterosexual person; straight: the scornful term ''breeders,'' used by some urban gays about heterosexual couples with children (1980s+ Homosexuals)
nuclear reactor that produces more fissionable material than it consumes to generate energy. This special type of reactor is designed to extend the nuclear fuel supply for electric power generation. Whereas a conventional nuclear reactor (q.v.) can use only the readily fissionable but scarce isotope uranium-235 for fuel, a breeder reactor employs either uranium-238 or thorium, of which sizable quantities are available. Uranium-238, for example, accounts for more than 99 percent of all naturally occurring uranium. In breeders, approximately 70 percent of this isotope can be utilized for power production. Conventional reactors, in contrast, can extract less than one percent of its energy.