Sciencemadness Discussion Board

Finding small amounts of Plutonium or U235?

beerwiz - 24-9-2023 at 11:27

I want to run some tests on small amounts of pure Plutonium (239 or 241) and U235, just need about 1 gram of each. I am willing to pay, money is no object, I can pay up to $100k per gram if need be. These are just for testing purposes and reference material.

Any ideas or advice on where I can buy them? I know sample amounts of Uranium ore are OTC, so I thought it wouldn't hurt to ask for a small reference amount of Plutonium and U235.

If all else fails, can I synthesize or extract them myself? Just need 1 gram of each, that's all.

[Edited on 24-9-2023 by beerwiz]

phlogiston - 24-9-2023 at 13:13

No offence, but are you serious?
What a bizarre request.

Its the combination of apparently finding it too much effort to read even a basic wikipedia page about how these materials are made and regulated, yet being willing to pay crazy amounts of money for them. Even better, announce in advance that you'd pay that much, completely ruining your negotiation position (further showing a complete disinterest in money).
It must be nice if you have so much money that offering to pay such amounts are easier for you than spending an hour or two on basic internet 'research'.

Forget about isolating them.
If you have large amounts of money to burn, first pay someone to look into what permits are required to buy/own/store these materials, then set up a lab to keep them properly and finally just buy them from an official supplier of nuclear materials.
Regardless of how much money you have, you probably need a very good reason to justify being able to buy and own them. Just 'testing purposes and reference material' won't do. You need to be way, way more specific.

[Edited on 24-9-2023 by phlogiston]

DraconicAcid - 24-9-2023 at 16:32

Dangit, phlogisten, for $100K per gram, I would be willing to put a lot of effort into convincing Mark that whatever I'm selling really, really is U-235. Honest.

beerwiz - 24-9-2023 at 20:36

Quote: Originally posted by phlogiston  
No offence, but are you serious?
What a bizarre request.

Its the combination of apparently finding it too much effort to read even a basic wikipedia page about how these materials are made and regulated, yet being willing to pay crazy amounts of money for them. Even better, announce in advance that you'd pay that much, completely ruining your negotiation position (further showing a complete disinterest in money).
It must be nice if you have so much money that offering to pay such amounts are easier for you than spending an hour or two on basic internet 'research'.

Forget about isolating them.
If you have large amounts of money to burn, first pay someone to look into what permits are required to buy/own/store these materials, then set up a lab to keep them properly and finally just buy them from an official supplier of nuclear materials.
Regardless of how much money you have, you probably need a very good reason to justify being able to buy and own them. Just 'testing purposes and reference material' won't do. You need to be way, way more specific.

[Edited on 24-9-2023 by phlogiston]


Yes, I have a complete disinterest in money, like I said, money is no object to me. Frankly, I'd even pay $100million for 1 gram of each, eventhough I know Plutonium for example costs $60million per kilo. I did read the Wikipedia page, but it's hard to tell which method will really work and which won't. Trial and error is not something I want to spend time on (been there done that), if I don't have to, due to the dozens if not hundreds experiments that I'll need to do and the toxicity and difficulty in keeping it contained even with extensive protective measures, not to mention waste disposal.

I did that for another similar project of mine, and despite taking all legal measures, I put myself at great personal risk. I don't want to repeat that ordeal with this project, it will surely attract lots of gov't attention once all of the paperwork starts flowing. The truth of the matter is, I just want to run some tests. I have some theories that I know will work, because they worked on other elements. I just need 1g of material to start.

Are there official suppliers that will sell these to a private company? Is this even a possibility?

Any other ideas?

Fulmen - 25-9-2023 at 00:56

Quote: Originally posted by beerwiz  
I'd even pay $100million for 1 gram

Are you on coke or just trolling? If you had 100k to spend on this you wouldn't spend your time asking about it here.

unionised - 25-9-2023 at 03:23

Quote: Originally posted by beerwiz  
Frankly, I'd even pay $100million for 1 gram of each

You just jumped the shark.

clearly_not_atara - 25-9-2023 at 05:11

I have some experience working in radiation safety and the control of radioactive materials.

Short answer: No.

Long answer: Nnnnnnnnnnnnoooooooooooooooo. There is absolutely, intentionally, for very good reason, zero fucking legitimate way for a private individual to obtain these substances. And anyone waving unreasonable amounts of money around is — correctly — treated with even more suspicion.

woelen - 25-9-2023 at 05:14

You're at the wrong place with your absurd requests. Most of the people over here already are struggling to find common chemicals like H2SO4 or HNO3, due to all kinds of regulations in many parts of the world. Forget about finding a source of Pu or U-235 via Sciencemadness.

I also have the feeling that you are trolling.

Texium - 25-9-2023 at 07:28

If you read some of this member’s previous posts, you’ll see you’re talking to a self-described alchemist… Seeing as previous posts hinted at projects with “infinite return on investment,” I’d assume that this person doesn’t have hundreds of millions of dollars to shell out, and actually believes that they’re capable of generating that kind of capital on demand via ~Alchemy~.

Not going to Detritus this yet. I’d like to grab some popcorn and see how it proceeds.

j_sum1 - 25-9-2023 at 14:56

I am with you, Tex. This feels like trolling.

But here is a related question...
Does anyone have in their element collection any visible quantities of any actinides? How did you obtain it?


I know of some Th stories. I myself have an Am button but the americium is a thin oxide layer and not realky visible. I know depleted U turnings are technically available for some people but I don't know any good sources. Are there any other options on the table?

pantone159 - 25-9-2023 at 15:23

In the USA, it is occasionally possible to get reasonable physical samples of Th and U. Beyond that though...

To answer the OP's post directly, in the USA, if you are able to obtain the relevant NRC permit to handle Special Nuclear Material, you can probably buy samples of both Pu and U-235. Once upon a time, there was even a government lab webpage that offered 1 g of metallic Pu for a price of $3499. That website is no more, but if you have the permits, such may still be available. I think I even looked once at the application cost for a permit, it was of the order of $7000. So if you somehow would qualify for the permit, you might be able to get your samples for a mere $10K or so.

Of course, I would expect that the chances of getting the relevant permits are about zero.

beerwiz - 25-9-2023 at 17:40

Plutonium seems to be too complex to source or synthesize. But I can definitely substitute it with U-235 and it seems to be more doable.

I can get an infinite amount of U-238, no questions asked, but it's of no use for my needs. I do have a large plain old centrifuge that can do 4kg at a time. If I grind down the U-238 metal to very fine nano particle size, can I use that centrifuge to separate the isotope to a purity of 99.99% (fully enriched)? What are the alternatives? I just need 1g of fully enriched U-235, but can settle for 100mg. I can set aside a large budget for a custom made centrifuge (gas?) to isolate the isotope if that's the only way. This way I don't have to file any paperwork and nobody will know, otherwise just applying for the NRC permit may put me on some kind of a gov't watchlist.

Any suggestions on the best way to separate the U-235 at 99.99% purity for a small amount (1g)?

DraconicAcid - 25-9-2023 at 18:22

If you send me a kg of uranium, I'll try to separate it for you and let you know.

Tsjerk - 26-9-2023 at 02:18

Quote: Originally posted by beerwiz  
This way I don't have to file any paperwork and nobody will know


Quote: Originally posted by beerwiz  

I just need 1g of fully enriched U-235, but can settle for 100mg


The combination these two is just not going to happen. Forget about it. You won't be able to buy U-235 without a permit.



Quote: Originally posted by beerwiz  

Any suggestions on the best way to separate the U-235 at 99.99% purity for a small amount (1g)?


Have a look at the Manhattan project to find out what it takes to enrich uranium. You could have done that before you asked the last question though.

When countries like Iran and North Korea have so much trouble getting to any amount of enriched uranium, what makes you think you can do it? And if so, how would you do it without any government finding out?

[Edited on 26-9-2023 by Tsjerk]

unionised - 26-9-2023 at 03:22

Quote: Originally posted by beerwiz  
If I grind down the U-238 metal to very fine nano particle size, can I use that centrifuge to separate the isotope to a purity of 99.99% (fully enriched)?

This way I don't have to file any paperwork and nobody will know, otherwise just applying for the NRC permit may put me on some kind of a gov't watchlist.



No, it won't

and you are almost certainly on a govt watch list.
Do you think they don't read discussion fora?

woelen - 26-9-2023 at 06:45

If it looks like a troll, and if it smells like a troll, then most likely it is a troll.

phlogiston - 26-9-2023 at 07:13

I still can't tell whether you are trolling or not, so good job there if you are. It's a useless thread but I am enjoying it so I'll bite and keep fueling you a bit more.

1g is not a small amount. It took a huge amount of effort and money for the first scientists to first isolate these materials to obtain -micrograms- of them.

Just as a theoretical excercise (because, let's be real, you aren't ever going to obtain these materials), for starters, the fact that you have a factor of 10 uncertainty in the amount that you actually need shows that you didn't think through very well what you want to do with it. Considering the huge amount of effort necessary to painstakingly obtain micrograms, wouldnt it make sense to first figure out how much you actually need? Maybe there is further room for optimisation there.

If it were possible to improvise some mcgyver isotope separation process that would allow you to isolate grams of weapons grade U235 easily and in your home, that would itself be far more important/worrying than whatever you are planning to do with it once you have it.
Fortunately, after many decades of international state-funded research failing to come up with a way to do so, we can be fairly confident that beerwiz isn't going to accomplish that, not even even after getting help from unfunded amateur scientists on an obscure internet forum.
If you do, however, actually start experimenting with depleted U filings in your clothes centrifuge, please do keep us updated, if only for the entertainment factor. If governments are doing their job, you very likely already are on some watchlist, so you can stop worrying about that.

[Edited on 26-9-2023 by phlogiston]

Texium - 26-9-2023 at 07:31

Not to mention that they're talking about acquiring U-235 starting from U-238, which is of course, impossible, rather than starting with natural uranium ore containing ~0.7% U-235.

Tsjerk - 26-9-2023 at 10:06

Quote: Originally posted by Texium  
Not to mention that they're talking about acquiring U-235 starting from U-238, which is of course, impossible, rather than starting with natural uranium ore containing ~0.7% U-235.


Not if you, as beerwiz, can nanomize it and get perfect separation by putting it in a centrifuge. Then you only need a couple dozen kilograms from which you can get that last bit of U-235.

beerwiz - 26-9-2023 at 12:01

Quote: Originally posted by woelen  
Most of the people over here already are struggling to find common chemicals like H2SO4 or HNO3, due to all kinds of regulations in many parts of the world. Forget about finding a source of Pu or U-235 via Sciencemadness.


H2SO4 and HNO3 are the essential chemical building blocks of modern civilization. It is true that therse are restricted in many places, it saddens me but at the same time your post gave me a good laugh because I am way past that stage of experimentation, it does remind me of the early days though.

Quote: Originally posted by Tsjerk  


Have a look at the Manhattan project to find out what it takes to enrich uranium. You could have done that before you asked the last question though.

When countries like Iran and North Korea have so much trouble getting to any amount of enriched uranium, what makes you think you can do it? And if so, how would you do it without any government finding out?



That was a long time ago and only the beginning. North Korea already has nukes and has had them for a long time. Not sure about Iran.
I can do this because I've done the impossible many times before. As a matter of fact, when I posted this thread the idea just occured to me, less than 24 hours later I already found the best method, it can easily do 1g with 99.99%+ purity in less than 2 days.


Quote: Originally posted by phlogiston  


Just as a theoretical excercise (because, let's be real, you aren't ever going to obtain these materials), for starters, the fact that you have a factor of 10 uncertainty in the amount that you actually need shows that you didn't think through very well what you want to do with it. Considering the huge amount of effort necessary to painstakingly obtain micrograms, wouldnt it make sense to first figure out how much you actually need? Maybe there is further room for optimisation there.

If it were possible to improvise some mcgyver isotope separation process that would allow you to isolate grams of weapons grade U235 easily and in your home, that would itself be far more important/worrying than whatever you are planning to do with it once you have it.
Fortunately, after many decades of international state-funded research failing to come up with a way to do so, we can be fairly confident that beerwiz isn't going to accomplish that, not even even after getting help from unfunded amateur scientists on an obscure internet forum.
If you do, however, actually start experimenting with depleted U filings in your clothes centrifuge, please do keep us updated, if only for the entertainment factor. If governments are doing their job, you very likely already are on some watchlist, so you can stop worrying about that.



Theoretically I can run my tests on 1 microgram, but 1g would be much easier to handle, a luxury I take comfort in. The issue here is not the amount but ease of physical handling.
I was never a fan of microchemistry, I prefer to work with 100mg+. Easy MacGyver type separation processes are out there, as easy as a precipitation, but the know-how is the key.

I already improvised a MacGyver type of process that I'm sure will work 100%. The only thing I'm worried about now is handling the pure isotope and physical safety. Mostly secondary issues like proper waste disposal, decontamination of work areas, and proper storage without irradiating the whole neighborhood.

Quote: Originally posted by Texium  
Not to mention that they're talking about acquiring U-235 starting from U-238, which is of course, impossible, rather than starting with natural uranium ore containing ~0.7% U-235.


The U-238 billets are not separated, they still have the U-235 isotope.

Quote: Originally posted by Tsjerk  

Not if you, as beerwiz, can nanomize it and get perfect separation by putting it in a centrifuge. Then you only need a couple dozen kilograms from which you can get that last bit of U-235.


Do you think that will work? I can nanomize it easily in the 2-5nm range.

Another question I have is, when melting large multi kilo amounts of U-235 to cast into molds, should I do it under Argon to prevent oxidation? What type of PPE is recommended? Is there any risk of detonation when molten or when pouring into a mold?


Texium - 26-9-2023 at 13:12

Quote: Originally posted by beerwiz  
I can do this because I've done the impossible many times before. As a matter of fact, when I posted this thread the idea just occured to me, less than 24 hours later I already found the best method, it can easily do 1g with 99.99%+ purity in less than 2 days.
Oh, really, care to enlighten us about this method of yours?

Quote: Originally posted by beerwiz  
Another question I have is, when melting large multi kilo amounts of U-235 to cast into molds, should I do it under Argon to prevent oxidation? What type of PPE is recommended? Is there any risk of detonation when molten or when pouring into a mold?
Can't tell if trolling or actually insane...

beerwiz - 26-9-2023 at 13:23

Quote: Originally posted by Texium  
Quote: Originally posted by beerwiz  
I can do this because I've done the impossible many times before. As a matter of fact, when I posted this thread the idea just occured to me, less than 24 hours later I already found the best method, it can easily do 1g with 99.99%+ purity in less than 2 days.
Oh, really, care to enlighten us about this method of yours?

Quote: Originally posted by beerwiz  
Another question I have is, when melting large multi kilo amounts of U-235 to cast into molds, should I do it under Argon to prevent oxidation? What type of PPE is recommended? Is there any risk of detonation when molten or when pouring into a mold?
Can't tell if trolling or actually insane...


The small scale way is using MS with a large collector, if properly configured, it can do about 1g in less than 2 days.

Texium - 26-9-2023 at 15:37

Quote: Originally posted by beerwiz  
The small scale way is using MS with a large collector, if properly configured, it can do about 1g in less than 2 days.
No, it most certainly can’t. Not even a real particle accelerator can achieve that level of yield. Once again, I can’t tell if this is trolling or pure delusion.

j_sum1 - 26-9-2023 at 15:55

Big claims. Unrealistic resources. Poor grasp of the science. Requests and questions that are trivial compared to the rest of the project.

I get the feeling I have read all of this before.

Dang. It is not even interesting enough to make a bucket of popcorn.


Beerwiz. I hate to pour cold water on your dream project, but I think this thread is destined for Detritus. I will keep it open long enough for you to give us the specs on your MS and tell us how you calculated a gram in two days. (Is that product or raw material? Either way, it is one hell of a throughput for an atom by atom process. That ioniser is gonna be white hot.)

mayko - 26-9-2023 at 20:27

this fellow seems like a reputable vendor

uraniumnerd.gif - 22kB

phlogiston - 27-9-2023 at 01:39

Quote: Originally posted by Texium  
Quote: Originally posted by beerwiz  
The small scale way is using MS with a large collector, if properly configured, it can do about 1g in less than 2 days.
No, it most certainly can’t. Not even a real particle accelerator can achieve that level of yield. Once again, I can’t tell if this is trolling or pure delusion.


I believe that is actually in the ballpark of the production rate that was achieved by a single cell in the calutrons in the time of WW2. So, I guess it is theoretically possible. I might have suspected beerwiz pulled that number from a paper about the calutrons, if only he had shown any evidence of reading anything at all.
Oh well, good luck building a calutron, beerwiz. Should be easy peazy for someone of your caliber.

[Edited on 27-9-2023 by phlogiston]

unionised - 27-9-2023 at 04:08

Just for the record. If anyone is actually thinking of making nanometre powdered uranium.
1 The "lumps" will still be too big to let you separate the isotopes by centrifugation.
2 the powder will be spontaneously flammable in air.

Texium - 27-9-2023 at 09:34

Quote: Originally posted by phlogiston  
Quote: Originally posted by Texium  
Quote: Originally posted by beerwiz  
The small scale way is using MS with a large collector, if properly configured, it can do about 1g in less than 2 days.
No, it most certainly can’t. Not even a real particle accelerator can achieve that level of yield. Once again, I can’t tell if this is trolling or pure delusion.


I believe that is actually in the ballpark of the production rate that was achieved by a single cell in the calutrons in the time of WW2. So, I guess it is theoretically possible. I might have suspected beerwiz pulled that number from a paper about the calutrons, if only he had shown any evidence of reading anything at all.
My bad. I actually did try to find a source to back me up but wasn't able to do so in a timely manner, so I settled for a gut feeling as that seemed in keeping with the general quality of this thread. ;)

Tsjerk - 28-9-2023 at 02:41

Quote: Originally posted by beerwiz  


Quote: Originally posted by Tsjerk  

Not if you, as beerwiz, can nanomize it and get perfect separation by putting it in a centrifuge. Then you only need a couple dozen kilograms from which you can get that last bit of U-235.


Do you think that will work? I can nanomize it easily in the 2-5nm range.



I thought the sarcasm would be obvious, but no I don't think it will work. I'm absolutely sure it won't work. You need atoms to be able to move independently to be able to seperate them by centrifugation. Maybe you should calculate how many atoms there are in a 2nm particle.

Fulmen - 28-9-2023 at 07:53

I'm revising my original hypothesis to crystal meth.

j_sum1 - 29-9-2023 at 02:37

Here you go Beerwiz. This is how it is done.
Just a little bit of backyard engineering and away you go.

Plutonium Metal Preparation


(Seriously though: this came across my feed and I thought it rather interesting.)

Sir_Gawain - 29-9-2023 at 12:44

100 million dollars would be plenty to build something like this. You could even get your money back by selling the extra plutonium to a nonspecific geographical location for their "nuclear energy projects".

phlogiston - 29-9-2023 at 14:14

In the video, they conveniently started with plutonium nitrate solution. The actual problem is how to get -that-, or anything containing a significant amount of plutonium at all.
The part in that video is the easy part.

Sir_Gawain - 29-9-2023 at 14:49

You're right, you would need something like a breeder reactor. The OP mentions he has access to an "infinite amount" of U-238.
Honestly though, it feels kind of useless to continue this discussion as this "billionaire researcher" has no idea what he's getting into.

phlogiston - 30-9-2023 at 03:17

I don't think we're having this discussion to actually help the allegedly superintelligent billionaire researcher. He just provided a nice prompt to have some chat among ourselves about interesting things/videos's etc we've learned about these kinds of processes to share with each other. We can mess with him a bit along the way, as he is doing with us.

Sir_Gawain - 30-9-2023 at 08:13

I agree, isotopic separation processes are very interesting. I just feel like any amateur trying them would end up David Hahn chapter 2. We only need to keep it theoretical.

Fulmen - 30-9-2023 at 10:30

What is the smallest reactor possible using natural uranium only? CP1 used some 5 tonnes of uranium metal plus 40 tonnes of uranium oxide, but I'm sure it can be made smaller using heavy water (1/10 the neutron absorption cross section).

leau - 1-10-2023 at 09:16

What's needed most is protective clothing:


https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lead_shielding


such as is worn by medical professionals when exposed to radiation :) The end results from the effort applied :cool: