A new method of production of plutonium-238 invented

Physics from the National Laboratory of OK Ridge (Ornl) have developed a new method of automated production of plutonium-238, which will increase its production of eight times.

Previously, the radioactive isotope was mainly necessary for nuclear weapons, and now it is used for medical sterilization, artistic restoration, nutrition of systems of spacecraft and other peaceful purposes. After the end of the Cold War, many governments have rolled their national production programs, although the need for radioisotope has been preserved. ORNL researchers were manually manufactured, but recently invented how to automate the process.

For this, they form granules from nepture-aluminum oxide. Neptune is also a radioactive metal element, and if the granules further irradiation, the so-called neptune-238 is created, which quickly disintegrates and forms a suitable 238PU.

According to scientists, partial automation of production will increase the annual release of plutonium from 50 g. Until 400 g. Additionally, a decrease in operations performed manually reduces the level of potential risks.

Chinese scientists also achieved incredible success in transformation of atoms. They were able