Wednesday, December 12, 2007

C.J. Barton, Sr., a Note on Plutonium

My father wrote what was for many years the standard text on the use of glove boxes: "Glove Box Techniques" found in Technique of Inorganic Chemistry, Vol. III, H.B. Jonassen and A.Weissberger, Eds., Interscience Publishers, New York, 1963. He updated the chapter 20 years later. I was aware that his Glove Box work was connected to Plutonium research, but I did not know the purpose of the research, so yesterday I asked him. His response was simple and direct, "To find out if Plutonium could be used as reactor fuel."


This after he had just got through telling me that he considered the development of the Zirconium-Hafnium separation process to have been the major accomplishment of his Oak Ridge career.

His research must have included an investigation of the stability of trivalent plutonium and minor actinides in various molten fluoride salts, because I have found a reference to the topic in a 1961 Journal of Inorganic Chemistry paper.

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