2018 | AFC ACCOMPLISHMENTS 138 Pure americium and neptunium metals are crucial components in the fabrication of transmutation fuels. Unfortunately, neither neptunium nor americium is available in pure metal form. However, a number of oxides, mixed metals and mixed oxides that include americium and neptunium are available. Methods have been devised to separate and/or reduce the materials available in order to obtain pure neptunium and americium metals. Project Description: The disposal of spent nuclear fuel is a challenge currently facing the nuclear power industry due to the hazards associated with long term storage of the material once it is removed from the reactor. Key to the reduction of these hazards is the reduction or elimination of minor actinides with long half-lives including neptunium and americium that are present in spent fuel.Transmutation is one method to potentially resolve this issue.Transmutation aims to incorporate the long lived actinides into new fuel that can be placed in a fast reactor where the elements of concern will fission into products which have shorter half-lives and can be more easily stored in disposal facilities. In order to better understand transmutation and its potential, it is necessary to fabricate small quantities of fuel with minor actinide additives and perform thorough characterization and irradiation testing. In addition, the thermal characterization of pure americium and neptunium metals Production of Americium and Neptunium Metal Principal Investigator: Leah Squires Collaborator: James King, Randall Fielding is incomplete and the pure metal is needed to perform basic thermal measurements. Currently, there is very little pure americium or neptunium metal in existence; and therefore, it is necessary to develop methods to isolate these metals from the oxide, mixed metal and mixed oxide feedstock material that is available. Accomplishments: A new approach to isolate of both americium and neptunium metals was investigated over the course of FY18. In the past, americium metal was isolated from a mixed metal starting material consisting of approximately 90% americium and 10% neptunium. The difference in vapor pressures of the two metals was used to perform a distillation separation and approxi- mately 12g of americium metal was successfully obtained using this process. Unfortunately, this specific starting material was exhausted at the end of FY17; therefore, a new mixed metal starting material containing approximately 10% americium and 90% plutonium was used for distilla- tion at the beginning of FY18. Early distillation experiments using the method previously applied to the amer- icium/neptunium mix showed that the material could not be efficiently collected using the existing set-up.This was mostly due to size limitations.The small crucible diameter did not provide the surface area necessary to vaporize significant amounts of americium from such a small quantity of starting mate- rial.The material that did vaporize Currently, pure americium and neptunium metals are in very short supply across the DOE complex and a reliable method for isolating the pure metals from available oxide, mixed metals and mixed oxide materials is necessary.