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Table 2.1. Isotopic Composition of Three Grades of Plutonium: Heat Source, Weapons, and Reactor - doe-std-1128-98_ch10017
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DOE Standard Guide of Good Practices for Occupational Radiological Protection In Plutonium Facilities
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Nuclear Properties - doe-std-1128-98_ch10019


DOE-STD-1128-98
Table 2.2 Uses and Availabilities of Plutonium Isotopes
Isotopes
Uses
Availability
Pu, 237Pu
236
Popular environmental and biological chemical
Both available in microcurie
.quantities.(a)
tracers
Pu
238
Small thermal and electric-power generators.
Available in various isotopic
enrichments, ranging from 78%
99+%.(a)
Pu
239
Nuclear weapons and as a fast reactor fuel. Also,
Available enrichments range
frequently used in chemical
from 97% to 99.99+%.(a)
research where
production-grade material of mixed isotopic content
is suitable.
Pu
240
Principally in flux monitors for fast reactors.
Available enrichments range
from 93% to99+%.(a)
Pu
241
The parent from which high-assay 241Am can be
Samples available in
isolated for industrial purposes.
enrichments of 93%(a)
Pu
242
For study of the physical properties of plutonium;
Samples available in
also as a mass spectroscopy tracer and standard.
enrichments ranging from
95% to 99.9+%; enrichments of
production-grade material
range from 85% to 95%.(a)
Pu
244
Currently, the only isotope available as a National
Can be obtained from DOE's
Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
New Brunswick Laboratory.
Standard Reference Material (SRM) (b)
(a)
Available in small quantities from the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL): ORNL Isotopes Sales Office,
Oak Ridge National Laboratory, P.O. Box X, Oak Ridge, Tennessee 37830.
A second NIST/SRM (a 1:1 mixture of 239Pu and 242Pu) is being prepared, and a third (239Pu) is planned for
(b)
the future.
2.1.2 Laser Isotope Separation Process
Several new technologies are being considered to provide more highly purified
plutonium isotopes for various purposes. One of these processes, laser isotope
separation (LIS), has the potential to purify 239Pu from almost any source of
plutonium. The LIS process produces a product enriched in 239Pu and a byproduct
that contains the remaining plutonium isotopes. It is conceivable that the byproduct
stream could be further purified to produce a specific plutonium isotope, such as
238Pu used for isotopic heat sources.
The LIS process has many benefits. It can significantly reduce external radiation
exposure to both neutron and gamma radiations for the product enriched in 239Pu.
(Potential exposure problems from the byproduct stream are discussed later in this
section.) The International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) and the
2-4


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