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Los Alamos Science No. 26, 2000: Plutonium and Health-How Great Is the Risk?

By George L. Voelz

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Book Id: WPLBN0002113586
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File Size: 0.9 MB
Reproduction Date: 2000
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Title: Los Alamos Science No. 26, 2000: Plutonium and Health-How Great Is the Risk?  
Author: George L. Voelz
Volume: Volume 26, Article 12
Language: English
Subject: Newsletter, Science, Education
Collections: Periodicals: Journal and Magazine Collection (Contemporary), Los Alamos Science, Los Alamos National Laboratory Journal Collection
Publication Date:
Publisher: Los Alamos National Laboratory


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Voelz, G. L. (2000). Los Alamos Science No. 26, 2000. Retrieved from

Description: Plutonium is arguably the strangest element in the periodic table and the most difficult to handle in the laboratory. While its nuclear fission properties were correctly predicted well before it was first produced at the Berkeley cyclotron, its chemical and condensed matter properties still defy understanding, largely due to the anomalous behavior of the 5f electrons. Nevertheless, it plays a prominent role in nuclear weapons and nuclear energy production. Former Director Sig Hecker opens the volume with the history of plutonium on planet Earth, its use in nuclear weapons and nuclear energy, the challenge of safeguarding weapons-grade plutonium, and efforts to mitigate health and environmental problems resulting from production during the Cold War. The volume goes on to summarize plutonium's condensed matter properties and evidence for its classification as a correlated-electron material. Other topics cover the role of the 5f electrons in producing plutonium's many phases, plutonium aging, plutonium metallurgy, plutonium chemistry, environmentally-conscious plutonium processing, and long-term deposition of nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain.

Table of Contents
Table of Contents: An Update: Plutonium and Quantum Criticality -- In the Beginning -- A Factor of Millions--Why We Made Plutonium -- Plutonium in Use--From Single Atoms to Multiton Amounts -- Plutonium-An Element at Odds with Itself -- The Plutonium Challenge-Stockpile Stewardship -- The Plutonium Challenge-Avoiding Nuclear Weapons Proliferation -- The Plutonium Challenge-Environmental Issues -- The Taming of “49”--Big Science in Little Time -- Reflections on the Legacy of a Legend-Glenn T. Seaborg -- From Alchemy to Atoms-The Making of Plutonium -- Plutonium and Health-How Great Is the Risk? -- Plutonium Condensed-Matter Physics-A Survey of Theory and Experiment -- Actinide Ground-State Properties-Theoretical Predictions -- Basics of the Density Functional Theory Approach -- Electronic Structure of Alpha and Delta Plutonium-Theory vs. Experiment -- A Possible Model for Delta Plutonium-Self-Induced Anderson Localization, Delta-Phase Stability, and the Melting Temperature of Plutonium -- Photoelectron Spectroscopy of Alpha and Delta Plutonium -- Laser-Plasma Light Source-Design and Operation -- Actinide Photoemission Measurements at the Advanced Light Source -- Atomic Vibrations and Melting in Plutonium -- Equations of State-Theoretical Formalism -- Microstrain in Delta Prime Plutonium -- Vibrational Softening in Alpha Uranium -- Elasticity, Entropy, and the Phase Stability of Plutonium -- Preparing Single Crystals of Gallium-Stabilized Plutonium -- A Single-Crystal Saga -- Aging of Plutonium and Its Alloys -- A Tale of Two Diagrams -- Surface and Corrosion Chemistry of Plutonium -- Catalyzed Corrosion of Plutonium: Hazards and Applications -- Radiation Effects in Plutonium-What Is Known? Where Should We Go from Here? -- Transmission Electron Microscopy of Plutonium Alloys -- Plutonium and Its Alloys-From Atoms to Microstructure -- Mechanical Behavior of Plutonium and Its Alloy -- Where Is the Gallium?--Searching the Plutonium Lattice with XAFS -- The Chemical Complexities of Plutonium -- Computational Studies of Actinide Chemistry -- The Chemical Interactions of Actinides in the Environment -- Spectroscopies for Environmental Studies of Actinide Species -- Siderophore-Mediated Chemistry and Microbial Uptake of Plutonium -- Characterizing the Plutonium Aquo Ions by XAFS Spectroscopy -- XAFS: A Technique to Probe Local Structure -- A Vision for Environmentally Conscious Plutonium Processing -- Salt Distillation -- Hydrothermal Processing -- Enhanced Pyrolysis for Converting Polystyrene or Cellulose Polymers -- Treatment of Liquid Wastes -- Electrochemical Decontamination of Metallic Waste -- Molecularly Engineered Resins for Plutonium Recovery -- Yucca Mountain-Looking Ten Thousand Years into the Future -- Mesh Generation for Yucca Mountain -- Colloids-Carriers of Actinides into the Environment -- Analyzing Volcanic Hazards at Yucca Mountain


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