Title: Optimisation of uranium-doped americium oxide synthesis for space application
Authors: VIGIER JEAN-FRANCOISFREIS DANIELPOEML PHILIPPPRIEUR DAMIENLAJARGE PATRICKGARDEUR SEBASTIENGUIOT ANTONYBOUEXIERE DANIELKONINGS RUDY
Citation: INORGANIC CHEMISTRY vol. 57 no. 8 p. 4317-4327
Publisher: AMER CHEMICAL SOC
Publication Year: 2018
JRC N°: JRC109674
ISSN: 0020-1669
URI: http://publications.jrc.ec.europa.eu/repository/handle/JRC109674
DOI: 10.1021/acs.inorgchem.7b03148
Type: Articles in periodicals and books
Abstract: Americium 241 is a potential alternative to plutonium 238 as energy source for missions into deep space or to the dark side of planetary bodies. In order to use 241Am isotope for radioisotope thermoelectric generators (RTG) or heating units (RHU) production, americium materials need to be developed. This study focusses on the stabilisation of a cubic americium oxide phase using uranium as dopant. After optimisation of the material preparation, (Am0.80U0.12Np0.06Pu0.02)O1.8 has been successfully synthesized to prepare a 2.96 g pellet containing 2.13 g of 241Am for fabrication of a small scale RHU prototype. Compared to pure americium oxide, the use of uranium-doped americium oxide leads to a number of improvements from the material properties and the safety point of view, like a good behaviour under sintering conditions or under alpha self-irradiation. The mixed oxide is a good host for neptunium (i.e. the 241Am daughter element) and it has improved safety against radioactive material dispersion in case of accidental conditions.
JRC Directorate:Nuclear Safety and Security

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