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Title: Why is weapons grade plutonium more hazardous to work with than highly enriched uranium?

Highly Enriched Uranium and Weapons grade plutonium have assumed positions of dominant importance among the actinide elements because of their successful uses as explosive ingredients in nuclear weapons and the place they hold as key materials in the development of industrial use of nuclear power. While most chemists are familiar with the practical interest concerning HEU and WG Pu, fewer know the subtleties among their hazards. In this study, a primer is provided regarding the hazards associated with working with HEU and WG Pu metals and oxides. The care that must be taken to safely handle these materials is emphasized and the extent of the hazards is described. The controls needed to work with HEU and WG Pu metals and oxides are differentiated. Given the choice, one would rather work with HEU metal and oxides than WG Pu metal and oxides.
Authors:
 [1] ;  [1] ;  [1]
  1. Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
1221769
Report Number(s):
LA-UR--14-28883
Journal ID: ISSN 1871-5532
Grant/Contract Number:
AC52-06NA25396
Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Journal of Chemical Health and Safety
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 22; Journal Issue: 4; Journal ID: ISSN 1871-5532
Publisher:
Elsevier
Research Org:
Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
37 INORGANIC, ORGANIC, PHYSICAL, AND ANALYTICAL CHEMISTRY; 11 NUCLEAR FUEL CYCLE AND FUEL MATERIALS; 38 RADIATION CHEMISTRY, RADIOCHEMISTRY, AND NUCLEAR CHEMISTRY; 61 RADIATION PROTECTION AND DOSIMETRY Plutonium, Uranium, Hazards, Assessment