NE Seminar: “National Security Research in the Radiochemical Processing Laboratory”


1:55 pm-2:55 pm
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Rhines Hall Room 125
549 Gale Lemerand Drive
Gainesville, FL 32611



Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) has established plutonium processing capabilities to study nuclear forensic R&D. The processing capabilities emulate historical efforts used by the United States since the 1940s.

This capability is a modular system that can process various flow sheets associated with the plutonium nitrate precipitation methods, including Pu (III) and Pu (IV) oxalate and peroxide. Principal operations for this capability include dissolution, ion exchange, precipitation, filtration, and calcination. A comprehensive suite of analytical capabilities, including inorganic, radiochemical, and physical analysis, as well as state-of-the-art microscopy systems, are used to characterize the feed, process, and product materials. Additionally, machine learning algorithms are being employed to further understand the correlation between morphologies and the various processes. Data associated with the current R&D efforts will be presented.


David Meier, Ph.D.

Technical Group Leader
Pacific Northwest National Lab

Dr. David Meier began work at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) in 2008 as a research scientist in the National Security Directorate (NSD). David has a Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of Missouri-Columbia. His thesis work focused on the nuclear production and separation of 35S and 147Pm from irradiated materials and their subsequent incorporation into betavoltaic power conversion technologies. Currently, he is the technical group manager of the Nuclear Materials Processing group in the Radiochemical Processing Laboratory (RPL) facility and supports 35 staff members.
Dr. Meier leads the NNSA’s Multi-laboratory Plutonium Processing Signatures Project. This project is supported by technical staff at Los Alamos, Lawrence Livermore, Sandia, Oak Ridge, and Savannah River National Laboratories and the Atomic Weapons Establishment in the UK. This project enhances our understanding of the processing, analytical, and modeling capabilities, expanding our knowledge of nuclear forensics and morphological signatures associated with plutonium processing chemistries. He also engages with the training and mentoring of the next generation of radiochemists and nuclear scientists and collaborates with staff from other National Laboratories in both the U.S. and the U.K.


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Department of Materials Science & Engineering