PerspectiveNuclear Fuels

How to isolate americium

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Science  06 Nov 2015:
Vol. 350, Issue 6261, pp. 635-636
DOI: 10.1126/science.aad5131

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Americium is a highly radioactive element found in used nuclear fuel. Because used commercial fuels always contain americium, chemical fuel processing must include separation of this element. Americium is easy to recover concurrently with eight other elements in the fuel (the lanthanide elements) but much more difficult to isolate free of those other eight. On page 652 of this issue, Dares et al. report a method that may provide a simple route to isolating americium (1).