6 SEP­A­RATE PLUTONIUM

Popular Mechanics (South Africa) - - HOW TO MAKE -

A process called sol­vent ex­trac­tion iso­lates the plutonium and nep­tu­nium: sol­vents are added to the so­lu­tion that dis­solve only those el­e­ments. Then sci­en­tists in­duce the so­lu­tion to sep­a­rate, like oil and water, so that they can re­move the sol­vent that’s bound to them. At this point, nep­tu­nium is sep­a­rated and can be passed through the cy­cle again.

The plutonium is pu­ri­fied through a process called ion ex­change, which Oak Ridge is still re­fin­ing a key step to reach­ing the 1,5-kilo­gram per year de­liv­ery goal.

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