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Nuclear Energy, 6th Edition by Raymond L. Murray

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Chapter 9. Isotope Separators

All of our technology is based on materials in various forms—elements, compounds, alloys, and mixtures. Ordinary chemical and mechanical processes can be used to separate many materials into components. In the nuclear field, however, individual isotopes such as uranium-235 and hydrogen-2 (deuterium) are required. Because isotopes of a given element have the same atomic number Z, they are essentially identical chemically, and thus a physical method must be found that distinguishes among particles on the basis of mass number A. In this chapter we will describe several methods by which isotopes of uranium and other elements are separated. Four methods that depend on differences in A are: (a) ion motion in a magnetic ...

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