Oxidative Am-241 separation technique developed, easing extraction from spent fuel

A large proportion of reactor waste can be recycled but Am-241 is extremely hard to oxidise or solubilise, making it challenging to separate out from spent nuclear fuel. Therefore, it is usually left on the fuel when it is committed to long-term storage pending disposal. As Am-241 is a major heat producer, this can be a problem for safe storage. However, a new low-energy oxidative technique has been developed that promises to enable such separation. Once removed from the fuel, Am-241 has many useful applications in medicine and industry, and has been suggested as a potential radioisotope thermoelectric generator fuel.

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