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Berkelium Production

Production

247Bk berkelium isotope is a product of curium targets bombardment by alpha-particle accelerated in cyclotron. Berkelium separation from the irradiated target material includes americium separation; curium, berkelium, plutonium, rare earth elements and residual americium precipitation in the form of fluorides; transformation fluorides into hydroxides which then are dissolved and transformed into chlorates. Chlorates are separated by cation-exchange chromatographic separation using ammonium citrate, lactic or alpha-hydroxyisobutyryl acid. Another method includes hydroxide dissolution in HNO3, transition from Bk3+ state into the Bk4+ with simultaneous liquid extraction by tributyl phosphate, which allows separating berkelium from other actinoids and lanthanoides in +3 oxidizing state. The final product which consists of 92% Berklim and 8% Americium is obtained by reextraction with (N2H5)Cl or (NH3OH)Cl solutions. Transcurium elements may be separated from plutonium, americium and curium via extraction from diluted hydrochloric solutions by 2-ethylhexyl phosphoric acid solution in diethylbenzene. Reextraction using diluted hydrochloric acid helps in quantitative separation of berklium and californium.

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