Synthesis of precious metals

Synthesis Of Precious Metals

Synthesis of precious metals

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Synthesis of precious metals refers to the realization of the age-old dream of alchemists: to artificially produce precious metals. This synthesis is only possible with methods utilizing nuclear physics, currently involving either nuclear reactors or particle accelerators. Since particle accelerators require huge amounts of energy while nuclear reactors produce energy, production methods using a nuclear reactor are considered more economically feasible. Often the goal of synthesis is to produce an element at a cost significantly less than the standard methods of production.

Rhodium, Ruthenium

Rhodium and ruthenium are precious metals produced by nuclear fission, as a small percentage of the fission products. The radio-isotopes of these elements with the longest half-life, which are generated by nuclear fission have half-life times of 45 days and 373.59 days for rhodium and ruthenium, respectively. This makes their extraction from spent nuclear fuel possible, although they must be checked for radioactivity before use.

Until now no facility has been reprocessing spent nuclear fuels for rhodium and ruthenium; however, Japan is planning to do so in their new spent fuel reprocessing facility, which will help offset the cost of reprocessing.


Each kilogram of the fission products of <sup>235</sup>U will contain 63.44&nbsp;grams of ruthenium isotopes with halflives longer than a day. Since a typical used...
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