[ RadSafe ] "Rescuing a Treasure -- Uranium-233"

JPreisig at aol.com JPreisig at aol.com
Sun Jul 8 15:37:56 CDT 2012

        Treasure or not, downblending  will allow the US government to 
guard in a warehouse or 
whatever, less U233.  The blended U233 could be held in a less  secure/less 
costly location.
Some original unblended U233 could be kept in a secure location for the  
uses indicated.
        This all smells like a  government cost-cutting measure.
        Joe Preisig
In a message dated 7/8/2012 7:00:44 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time,  
jaro_10kbq at videotron.ca writes:

Rescuing  a Treasure --  Uranium-233


Alan M. Krichinsky, Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Steve A.  Goldberg, New Brunswick Laboratory
Ian D. Hutcheon, Lawrence Livermore  National Laboratory


Uranium-233 (233U) is a synthetic  isotope of uranium formed under reactor
conditions during neutron capture  by natural thorium (232Th). At high
purities, this synthetic isotope serves  as a crucial reference for
accurately quantifying and characterizing  natural uranium isotopes for
domestic and international safeguards.  
Separated 233U is stored in vaults at Oak Ridge National Laboratory  (ORNL).
These materials represent a broad spectrum of 233U from the  standpoint of
isotopic purity-the purest being crucial for precise analyses  in
safeguarding uranium. 

All 233U at ORNL currently is scheduled to  be down blended with depleted
uranium beginning in 2015. Such down blending  will permanently destroy the
potential value of pure 233U materials as  certified reference materials for
use in uranium analyses. 
Furthermore,  no replacement 233U stocks are expected to be produced in the
future due to  a lack of operating production capability and the high cost 
restarting  this currently shut down capability. 
This paper will outline a recent  effort to assess the annual consumption of
233U in the U.S., describes the  gap between current supplies and future
needs, and develops a program to  rescue the purest of 233U
materials-arguably a national treasure-from  destruction by down blending so
it may be preserved for use as a crucial  reference for safeguarding nuclear

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