Nuclear Science and Energy Directorate

Nuclear Materials Processing Group

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The Nuclear Materials Processing (NMP) Group applies chemical engineering, nuclear engineering, and radiochemistry principles in the processing and handling of nuclear and other hazardous materials for sponsors within the Department of Energy, the Department of Homeland Security, and various government and private agencies and organizations.  The NMP Group has the following primary mission areas:

  • Development and processing of irradiated targets for the recovery of transuranium radioisotopes for research and industrial applications – A major thrust of this area is the production and purification of 252Cf for industrial, research, and medical applications.
  • Processing and purification of irradiated targets and decay generated isotopes for the production of medical radioisotopes – A variety of medical radioisotopes are produced and/or dispensed including 225Ac, 75Se, and others. 
  • Research and development (R&D) in support of used nuclear fuel reprocessing and the development of fuels for advanced reactors – The Coupled End-to-End demonstration has processed kilogram quantities of used nuclear fuels in support of the Advanced Fuel Cycle Initiative and fuels development for the next generation nuclear reactors. 
  • R&D in support of national security missions including the development of micro isotope power sources and sensors – Small sources are prepared and tested in a variety of power generation arrays for the development of micro power sources.  Customized radioactive sources are prepared and used in experiments to evaluate various detector designs and detection techniques. 

The NMP Group works closely with the Non-reactor Nuclear Facilities Division, Research Reactors Division, and Chemical Sciences Division to conduct R&D missions at the Radiochemical Engineering Development Center (REDC).  The REDC is a multipurpose Category II radiochemical processing facility, which includes numerous heavily shielded hot cells; glove box, radiochemical, and analytical laboratories; and support facilities.  The NMP group has unique radiochemical processing expertise that supports the nation's R&D needs in the production of key radionuclides for industrial, medical, and research applications.