Equipment and process development for fabricating plutonium primary analytical chemistry standards


Gerald Coriz, NMT-11: Actinide Fuel Cycle Technology Group, Los Alamos National Laboratory, PO Box 1663, MS E505, Los Alamos, NM 87545 and J. David Olivas, NMT-10: Process Engineering, Los Alamos National Laboratory, PO Box 1663, MS E506, Los Alamos, NM 87545.
The focus of this talk will be a discussion of the techniques and equipment used in the fabrication of High-Purity Plutonium Primary Analytical Standards. The goal of the Plutonium Standards Fabrication Project was to fabricate 1200 nominal 1 gram samples of high purity plutonium (Pu) metal, sealed in evacuated glass ampoules. Equipment developed for this process included a hydraulic press and pump, microprocessor controller and data recorder, tool-steel extrusion die and resistance band heater, and a rebar cutter and glass sealer. Process steps included casting, machining, wire extrusion, wire cutting, encapsulation, and delivery. The plutonium metal samples will be characterized at the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) and New Brunswick Laboratory (NBL) followed by a statistical evaluation of the analytical chemistry data by NBL. NBL will then issue the metal samples to the nuclear community as a plutonium metal certified-reference material for plutonium assay. These high purity 1 gram Pu metal samples will be used as primary analytical standards across the Department of Energy (DOE) complex and the world.