Toward the End of PuO2's Supremacy?

Science  14 Jan 2000:
Vol. 287, Issue 5451, pp. 243-244
DOI: 10.1126/science.287.5451.243

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Plutonium dioxide (PuO) has long been thought to be the most stable plutonium oxide under oxidizing conditions. Its stability has been a key factor in safety considerations for military and civilian uses of plutonium and for long-term storage of nuclear materials. A report by Haschke et al. (page 285) shows that PuOis metastable and can be oxidized to PuO, with more than 25% of plutonium ions oxidized to the more mobile Pu(VI) oxidation state. The results have implications for both military and civilian applications, for the long term storage of plutonium, and for the geological disposal of nuclear wastes.