2018 | AFC ACCOMPLISHMENTS 141 deposited in a thin layer such that the retrieval of the americium without tantalum contamination from the crucible walls proved to be impossible. Neptunium metal was produced in previous years via a direct oxide reduc- tion using calcium metal as a reducing agent and calcium chloride salt. One issue that arose for both the neptunium and americium metals was storage of the material as it was found to oxidize readily even sealed in an airtight container and kept in an argon atmo- sphere glovebox.A method was devised early in FY18 to go directly from the oxides of both americium and neptu- nium to the metals using an arc melter to reach very high temperature under a hydrogen containing cover gas.The idea was that the extreme temperature would force a separation of the oxygen from the americium or neptunium and the hydrogen in the cover gas would collect the released oxygen and carry it away as water vapor.The method was tested using zirconia in a non- radiological facility with great success. Offsite analysis showed the material to be 99% metallic.The method was then applied to both americium oxide and neptunium oxide in the argon atmo- sphere glovebox with varying percent- ages of hydrogen in the argon cover gas.The material underwent a dramatic visual change, but analysis results are still pending. If this technique is further refined it could provide a method to produce the metal at the time it is needed, thereby eliminating the storage requirement and the diffi- culty of protecting the material from oxidation over long periods of time. It would also be much faster than current methods of direct oxide reduction for neptunium isolation or distillation for americium isolation. Figure 5. The same material after arc melting under 15% hydrogen cover gas.