2017 | AFC ACCOMPLISHMENTS 128 existence as pure metal, it is necessary to develop methods to isolate it from the feedstock material that is available. The majority of the neptunium bearing feedstock available is in oxide form.A direct chemical reduction process was developed at Idaho National Laboratory (INL) to reduce the neptunium oxide to neptunium metal. Accomplishments: The process developed at INL to reduce the oxide to metal utilizes a mixture of calcium metal and calcium chloride. The calcium metal acts as the reducing agent to remove the oxygen from the neptunium.The calcium chloride salt absorbs the calcium oxide that results from the reduction of neptunium and oxidation of calcium.The process is performed in the Hot Uniaxial Press furnace (Figure 1) in which it can be heated to approximately 900 degrees centigrade and stirred. The furnace is located in the Casting Laboratory glovebox of the Analytical Laboratory (Figure 2).The furnace underwent some upgrades during FY17 that included complete change out of all thermocouples including the temperature override control thermocouples.A thorough cleaning process was also performed on the furnace since it was used for other processes and the build up from these processes and the reduction process seemed to be hampering reduction efficiency.The stock of neptunium oxide starting material was exhausted during FY17. Due to the hazard categorization of the facility where the work is performed and the limited glovebox shielding, only 40-50g of this material can be handled at any one time in the glovebox. For this purpose (and others) the shieldedTransuranic Breakout Glovebox (TBG) was brought on line in the Fuel Manufacturing Facility (FMF) last year.This glovebox gives INL a significant capability for the breakout and repackaging of transuranic materials from a large variety of container types.The glovebox was put to use for the first time in FY17 to breakout approximately 6kg of neptunium oxide material (Figure 3) that was obtained from the Space Battery program. Much effort was put into additional shielding and process development to allow this breakout to happen with minimal personnel extremity and whole body dose. The material was broken down into quantities that can be handled in the Casting Laboratory glovebox where the reduction runs occur. Improving the efficiency of the neptunium oxide reduction process will provide vital neptunium metal feedstock for the Advanced Fuels Campaign and the Transuranic Breakout Glovebox provides INL with the capability to access quantities and types of transuranic material that were previously inaccessible.