United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment
Home > NRC Library > Basic References > Glossary > Fertile material

Fertile material

A material, which is not itself fissile (fissionable by thermal neutrons), that can be converted into a fissile material by irradiation in a reactor. There are two basic fertile materials: uranium-238 and thorium-232. When these fertile materials capture neutrons, they are converted into fissile plutonium-239 and uranium-233, respectively.

Page Last Reviewed/Updated Wednesday, April 02, 2014