"Clean Nuclear Fuels" (warm fission)

notes on 'double beta'-, 'double EC gamma'- and co-chaining

[See also topically: cold fission; and hot fission potentials]

The atomic-age nuclear power industry [*] started from observed alpha-radiodecay nuclides and neutron-chaining fission, but there are several potential beta- and gamma-chaining nuclei of significant power output up to 10%-per-nucleon cf Pu-239+n (100%):--

'Warm fission' is like 'hot fission' but of typically lighter nuclei, near, shy-of, or barely, radioactive. 'Clean fission' has typically stable daughter products, and readily stoppable, non neutronic, charged-particle and photon emissions.

Warm fission also typically includes radiodecay, particularly the double-emissions, whereas hot-fission typically does-not-include its single emission radiodecays. (N.B. the usual 'old' meaning of fission, was radiodecay to near-halves: because that yielded more energy than small side decay particularly from the 'island' of large 'double-nuclei', but here we're looking at smaller 'continental' nuclei.) And as the Class grows we find also what is neither radiodecay nor fission but particle-capture, rather than emission: the double-EC.

Warm fission and clean nuclear pretty much coincide ... Great for space launch and cruising habitable planets and the solar system... (But note still: Where neutron-chaining spallation is still possible, the fuel must be activated some distance from habitable planets.)

NUCLEAR ENERGY FROM TRANSMUTATION:

The largest classes, two, of warm nuclear energy, are the double-beta and double-EC-gamma 'recessive daughter' nuclides as may be transmuted to their 'dominant-daughter sibling' nuclides and so yield energy ... These are cross-element 'siblings':

BETA-TYPE:

nucleus% iso.modeintermed.balanceyield/nnotes
Ca-480.19%2 β-helps+0.28+3.99 = 4.27 MeV89 KeV/nlow cost; clean; 1018.8yr decay
Se-828.73%2 β-easy-0.10+3.09 = 3.00 MeV37 KeV/nlow cost; clean; 1020.0yr decay
Zr-962.80%2 β-helps+0.16+3.19 = 3.35 MeV35 KeV/nlow cost; clean; 1019.6yr decay
Mo-1009.6%2 β-stiff-0.17+3.20 = 3.03 MeV30 KeV/n
Nd-1505.6%2 β-easy-0.09+3.45 = 3.37 MeV22 KeV/n

EC-TYPE:

nucleus% iso.modeintermed.balanceyield/nnotes
Ni-5868.1%2 EChard-0.38+2.31 = 1.93 MeV33 KeV/nlow cost; clean
Ru-965.52%2 ECstiff-0.25+2.97 = 2.72 MeV28 KeV/n
Cd-1061.3%2 ECstiff-0.20+2.97 = 2.77 MeV26 KeV/n

These have high-sub-mega to mega electron-volt, no neutrons, and, ready electrochemical handleability. Their output electrons exceed their 1s-orbital energies by factors ranging to thousands, ensuring many subatomic incursions, where negative electrons gain additional catalytic MeV's nearing positive nuclei already ripe for triggering, and so possibly self-sustaining, and charge-barrier controllable.

Calcium-48 is refinable, atomically stable, nuclearly clean, powerful and efficient: ideal for habitable-planet shuttling ... Its rapid daughter-product is Titanium, already abundant itself; Calcium atomic abundance is 2.5%-silicon in the Earth crust, whence Ca-48 is 500 ppm (cf Boron, Zinc), and already in very high production, and very inexpensive. Its nonusable isotopes are 8% lighter (cf the isotopic difference in uranium-238:235 is 1.3%; And the relative isotopic abundance of hydrogen-2, 0.015%).

Ca-48 has the advantage of surplus energy ready-to-go just shy of radioactive (probably due to double-beta symmetry stability): the nucleus overburdened by 19 KeV closed atomic electron orbitals; It can be handled as a safe chemical until nuclear furnaced: Nuclear extraction methods include catalysis by interstitial-incursing deuterons or alphas (as from Pu-238) to warp the inner orbitals, and possibly MeV nuclear-impact electrons. It is probably safe from beta-chaining, by the 43× higher velocity of electrons needing many incursions, evacuating, -as compared to neutron-chaining which builds to a significant fraction before nuclear fragments evaporate the basis metal; Beta-chaining is likelier to evaporate it early, releasing little prompt nuclear energy-... Conversely, nuclear-impinging electrons may simply waste energy creating Beta-pairs. Its tentative hazard may be high energy Beta-decay reacceleration of alphas.

(Note that alphas may have an advantage over deuterons in that while their available energy of their double charge reaching twice the radius, is the same, alphas retain one charge while one electron is in transit, -and,- alphas linger longer in proximity to a nucleus, being both slower and having proportionally further to exit ... the same is more so for a few heavier nuclei but alphas are also most stable.)

Zirconium-96 is refinable, atomically stable, nuclearly clean, powerful and efficient: ideal for habitable-planet shuttling ... Its rapid daughter-product is Molybdenum deemed "essential" in small quantities and high-use return; Zirconium atomic abundance is 300 ppm-silicon in the Earth crust, whence Zr-96 is 8 ppm (cf Lead, Tin), and already in high production. Its nonusable isotopes are 4% lighter.

Zr-96 has the advantage of surplus energy ready-to-go just shy of radioactive (probably due to double-beta symmetry stability): the nucleus overburdened by 99 KeV closed atomic electron orbitals; It can be handled as a safe chemical until nuclear furnaced: Nuclear extraction methods include catalysis by interstitial-incursing deuterons or alphas (as from Pu-238) to warp the inner orbitals, and possibly MeV nuclear-impact electrons. It is probably safe from beta-chaining, by the 43× higher velocity of electrons needing many incursions, evacuating, -as compared to neutron-chaining which builds to a significant fraction before nuclear fragments evaporate the basis metal; Beta-chaining is likelier to evaporate it early, releasing little prompt nuclear energy-... Conversely, nuclear-impinging electrons may simply waste energy creating Beta-pairs. Its tentative hazard may be high energy Beta-decay reacceleration of alphas.

Nickel-58 is by tunnel-electron-capture probably already involved in the cold-fusion reputation of the early '90's, but may have a gamma-chain; It might be used for additional power from surplus electrons, compounded in alloy.

CO-CHAINING:

The best choices appear to be five Beta-types alone, But blending Beta-type and EC-type may augment their utilization by high-energy electrons 'impinging' electron-capture nuclei and high-energy gamma-rays 'stimulating' electron-emission nuclei.

OTHER, LESS USABLE ELEMENTS: (higher energy intermediate nuclei, lower yields)

nucleus% iso.modeintermed.balanceyield/nnotes
Ar-360.4%2 ECsevere-0.71+1.14 = 0.43 Mev12 KeV/n(slow) 2% branching ratio
Ca-4097%2 ECsevere-1.31+1.51 = 0.20 MeV5 KeV/n(slow) 11% branching ratio
Ca-460.004%2 β-severe-1.38+2.37 = 0.99 MeV22 KeV/nmay appear in Ca-48 enrichment
Cr-504.3%2 ECsevere-1.04+2.21 = 1.17 MeV23 KeV/n
[V-50]0.3%EC-+2.21 MeV44 KeV/n
[V-50]0.3%β--+1.04 MeV21 KeV/n(slow) 17% branching ratio
Fe-545.8%2 ECsevere-0.70+1.38 = 0.68 MeV12 KeV/n
Zn-6449%2 ECsevere-0.58+1.68 = 1.10 MeV17 KeV/n
Zn-700.6%2 β-severe-0.66+1.66 = 1.00 MeV14 KeV/n
Se-740.9%2 ECsevere-1.35+2.56 = 1.21 MeV16 KeV/n
Ge-767%2 β-severe-0.92+2.96 = 2.04 MeV27 KeV/n
Se-8050%2 β-severe0.13 MeV2 KeV/n
Sr-840.6%2 ECsevere-0.89+2.68 = 1.79 MeV21 KeV/n
Kr-8617%2 β-hard1.26 MeV15 KeV/n
Mo-9215%2 EChard1.65 MeV18 KeV/n
Zr-9417%2 β-severe-0.91+2.05 = 1.14 MeV12 KeV/nmay appear in Zr-96 enrichment
Mo-9824%2 β-severe-1.68+1.80 = 0.11 Mev1 KeV/nmay appear in Mo-100 enrichment
Pd-1021%2 ECsevere-1.15+2.32 = 1.17 MeV11 KeV/n(see 'mock cold fusion')
Ru-10419%2 β-severe-1.14+2.44 = 1.30 MeV13 KeV/n
Cd-1081%2 ECsevere0.27 MeV3 KeV/n(slow) 3% branching ratio
Pd-11012%2 β-severe2.00 MeV18 KeV/n
Sn-1121%2 ECsevere-0.66+2.59 = 1.92 MeV17 KeV/n
[Cd-113]12%β--0.32 MeV3 KeV/n
Cd-11429%2 β-severe0.54 MeV5 KeV/n
Cd-1167%2 β-hard2.8 MeV24 KeV/n
Te-1200.1%2 ECsevere1.70 MeV14 KeV/n
Sn-1225%2 β-severe0.36 MeV3 KeV/n
Sn-1246%2 β-severe2.29 MeV18 KeV/n
Xe-1260.1%2 ECsevere0.90 MeV7 KeV/n
Te-12832%2 β-severe0.87 MeV7 KeV/n
Te-13034%2 β-severe-0.42+2.95 = 2.53 MeV19 KeV/n
Ba-1300.1%2 EChard2.61 MeV20 KeV/n
Ba-1320.1%2 ECsevere0.84 MeV6 KeV/n
Xe-13410%2 β-severe0.83 MeV6 KeV/n
Ce-1360.2%2 ECsevere-0.47+2.87 = 2.40 MeV18 KeV/n
Ce-1380.3%2 ECsevere0.69 MeV5 KeV/nintermediate is longterm
Ce-14211%2 ECsevere1.42 MeV10 KeV/n
Sm-1443%2 ECsevere1.78 MeV12 KeV/ndaughter has slow secondary alpha
Nd-1486%2 β-severe1.93 MeV13 KeV/nmay appear in Nd-150 enrichment;
daughter has slow secondary alpha
Gd-1520.2%2 ECsevere0.06 MeV. KeV/nprimary has slow alpha
Sm-15423%2 β-severe1.25 MeV8 KeV/n
Dy-1560.06%2 EChard2.01 MeV13 KeV/n
Dy-1580.1%2 ECsevere0.28 MeV2 KeV/n
Gd-16022%2 β-easy-0.11+1.84 = 1.73 MeV11 KeV/n
Er-1620.1%2 EC[...]1.84 MeV11 KeV/n
Er-1642%2 β-severe0.025 MeV. KeV/n
Yb-1680.1%2 ECstiff1.42 MeV8 KeV/n
Er-17015%2 β-stiff0.65 MeV. KeV/n
Hf-1740.2%2 ECstiff-0.27+1.37=1.10 MeV6 KeV/nprimary has alpha
Yb-17613%2 β-stiff1.09 MeV6 KeV/nintermediate is longterm
W-1800.1%2 ECsevere0.15 MeV1 KeV/n
Os-1840.02%2 ECeasy-0.03+1.48 = 1.45 MeV8 KeV/ndaughter has slow secondary alpha
W-18628%2 β-severe0.49 MeV3 KeV/ndaughter has slow secondary alpha
Pt-1900.01%2 ECsevere1.38 MeV7 KeV/nprimary has slow alpha
Os-19241%2 β-severe0.41 MeV2 KeV/n
Hg-1960.2%2 ECsevere0.82 MeV4 KeV/n
Pt-1987%2 β-severe1.05 MeV5 KeV/n

OTHER NOTES:

Beryllium-10 though nuclear-reactor-made, might be of interest: Be-10 is a ten-thousandth as radioactive as Tritium H-3 but nine-times more efficient toward possibly beta-chaining; low weight, 56 KeV/n; clean; but high decay 106.2yr; high cost.

EC positive-energy may be implicated in Earth core excess heating by deep-pressure-forcing electrons into their corresponding dominant-daughter nuclei...

β- might be similarly implicated in the presence of deuterons deep-pressure-warping heavy nuclei, drawing-out nuclear electrons typically 2 β-...

[under further research]

N.B. This article does not include research in larger-fragment fission of lighter nuclei, e.g. Bi-209 3.1 MeV α++ 15 KeV/n, maybe 10.4 MeV Hg-196 C-13 50 KeV/n.... Also not included is research in fission-fusion combinations, e.g lithium-6/-7 (destroyed in star cores) releasing hydrogen-2/-3 which by fusion returns more than the cost of the endothermic lithium fission....

* [On the economic scale, warm fission research was left in the hamper while dirty fission was rung-out for national security]
* [Atomic nuclear data is from various government sourcebooks/handbooks]

This article was developed in part for project Sesquatercet movie-stories.

A premise discovery under the title,

Grand-Admiral Petry
'Majestic Service in a Solar System'
Nuclear Emergency Management

2006, 2009, 2012 GrandAdmiralPetry@Lanthus.net