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Title: The mysterious world of plutonium metallurgy: Past and future

Abstract

The first atomic bomb detonated at the Trinity Site in New Mexico on July 16, 1945, used plutonium, a man-made element discovered < 5 yr earlier. The story of how Manhattan Project scientists and engineers tackled the mysteries of this element and fabricated it into the first atomic bomb is one of the most fascinating in the history of metallurgy and materials. The authors are currently trying to generate renewed interest in plutonium metallurgy because of the challenge posed by President Clinton, i.e., to keep the nuclear stockpile of weapons safe and reliable without nuclear testing. The stockpile stewardship challenge requires either a lifetime extension of the plutonium components or a remanufacture--neither of which can be verified by testing. In turn, this requires that one achieve a better fundamental understanding of plutonium. Of special interest is the effect of self-irradiation on the properties and on the long-term stability of plutonium and its alloys. Additional challenges arise from long-term concerns about disposing of plutonium and dealing with its environmental legacy. It is imperative to interest the next generation of students in these plutonium challenges.

Authors:
;  [1]
  1. Los Alamos National Lab., NM (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
298270
Report Number(s):
CONF-981106-
Journal ID: TANSAO; ISSN 0003-018X; TRN: 99:001902
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Journal Name:
Transactions of the American Nuclear Society
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 79; Conference: American Nuclear Society winter meeting, Washington, DC (United States), 15-19 Nov 1998; Other Information: PBD: 1998
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
36 MATERIALS SCIENCE; 45 MILITARY TECHNOLOGY, WEAPONRY, AND NATIONAL DEFENSE; PLUTONIUM; NUCLEAR WEAPONS; METALLURGY; HISTORICAL ASPECTS; PLUTONIUM ALLOYS; PHYSICAL RADIATION EFFECTS; PHASE STUDIES; ELECTRONIC STRUCTURE; CRYSTAL-PHASE TRANSFORMATIONS

Citation Formats

Hecker, S S, and Hammel, E F. The mysterious world of plutonium metallurgy: Past and future. United States: N. p., 1998. Web.
Hecker, S S, & Hammel, E F. The mysterious world of plutonium metallurgy: Past and future. United States.
Hecker, S S, and Hammel, E F. 1998. "The mysterious world of plutonium metallurgy: Past and future". United States.
@article{osti_298270,
title = {The mysterious world of plutonium metallurgy: Past and future},
author = {Hecker, S S and Hammel, E F},
abstractNote = {The first atomic bomb detonated at the Trinity Site in New Mexico on July 16, 1945, used plutonium, a man-made element discovered < 5 yr earlier. The story of how Manhattan Project scientists and engineers tackled the mysteries of this element and fabricated it into the first atomic bomb is one of the most fascinating in the history of metallurgy and materials. The authors are currently trying to generate renewed interest in plutonium metallurgy because of the challenge posed by President Clinton, i.e., to keep the nuclear stockpile of weapons safe and reliable without nuclear testing. The stockpile stewardship challenge requires either a lifetime extension of the plutonium components or a remanufacture--neither of which can be verified by testing. In turn, this requires that one achieve a better fundamental understanding of plutonium. Of special interest is the effect of self-irradiation on the properties and on the long-term stability of plutonium and its alloys. Additional challenges arise from long-term concerns about disposing of plutonium and dealing with its environmental legacy. It is imperative to interest the next generation of students in these plutonium challenges.},
doi = {},
url = {https://www.osti.gov/biblio/298270}, journal = {Transactions of the American Nuclear Society},
number = ,
volume = 79,
place = {United States},
year = {1998},
month = {12}
}