Summary : among neutron sources used to prop up nuclear fission in conventional shells (together with a tiny piece of highly enriched uranium compressed powerfully by explosives or impact), there is sodium-24 (with heavy water) that is particularly powerful, and, hence, pricey.
All of what is described here is OF COURSE even more powerful with tritium instead of deuterium.
The use of sodium 24 produced in nuclear reactors and inserted in the liner of shaped charges, then mixed at the moment of the explosion with heavy water, generates a flux of neutrons, accelerated by the detonation of the shaped charge toward target.
- High energy gamma rays of sodium 24 extract them from heavy water atoms at a rate of approx. 2000 neutrons per Curie of sodium 24, but sodium 24 has a very high radioactivity, 322 270 TBq/gram, that is 8 710 000 Curie per gram)
- This is used to prop up nuclear fission by inserting that into a small highly enriched uranium tip that is violently compressed by explosives.
Sodium 24 has a short half life so it will not stay very long in the environment before becoming magnesium 24 (the stable isotope) after beta decay, but the amount of magnesium found in Iraqi soils in the South and the Center of the country also confirms use of the weapon. Iraqi soils are loaded with magnesium.
The fast neutrons transmutate in the process a lot of U235 atoms, producing the U236 found “everywhere in Iraq” by Axel Gerdes (see also the 2006 documentary Deadly Dust, Todesstaub by Frieder Wagner) and the plutonium, neptunium, americium whose presence has been acknowledged “in DU weapons” by the US army in the end of 2000 (see addendum to the 2001 Canal + documentary by Martin Meissonnier for the press conference).
Here is a patent of a shaped charge with a water tank that would easily be filled with heavy water (or tritium water).
Of course sodium and water react violently, creating a violent fire.
It is very easy to produce “radiosodium” (Na24) from fast neutron reactors like ASTRID, MASURCA, PHENIX in France. This is certainly why France is so much unwilling to abandon the sodium technology in spite of the positive void coefficient of sodium at high energy. France is a good country to provide Na24 for bombs, closer to the Middle East and its oil… The Direction Générale des Armements even has a program for new weapon technologies called “ASTRID”, which has been launched more or less in the same timeframe than the ASTRID sodium reactor ! (the call for projects has taken place recently, it ended in March 2017)
ALL THANKS to Paolo Scampa for the info about production of neutrons from sodium 24 + heavy water !!!!!!