Last Updated: June 1, 2004
Other Name: Plutonium Reprocessing Plant
Location: Institute of Nuclear Sciences, Vinča
Subordinate To: Institute of Nuclear Sciences, Vinča, Dept. for Spent Fuel Reprocessing
Size: Laboratory scale
Facility Status: N/A

Beginning in the 1950s, scientists at the institute investigated spent fuel reprocessing and plutonium purification technologies. By the mid-1950s they had developed a laboratory scale facility named the hot laboratory [1], and experimented with the PUREX process. [2] These experiments included testing solvent extraction techniques for the recovery of uranium, and the co-ordination chemistry of uranium. [3] The hot laboratory was housed in two hot cells that were shielded with lead. These early experiments were performed in collaboration with the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research located in Lillestrom, Norway. Much of the experimentation was performed at the Norway facility. [4] In 1965 scientists reported on their experiments to separated americium, thorium, and plutonium by anion exchange, and to purify and prepare americium and plutonium solutions based on the same process. [5] The status of the hot laboratory is not known.

According to some sources, Vinča's plutonium reprocessing facility began operating in 1966 through 1978 with the assistance of the Norway and Czechoslovakia. [6] The facility may have been originally equipped with 4 hot cells. Through open sources unnamed official reported that in the 1970s technicians conducted PUREX based reprocessing experiments using spent fuel from the RA reactor. [7] These experiments may have resulted in the separation of between several grams and one kilogram of plutonium. Drs. Ivan Gal, Aleksandar Ruvarac, Djordje Petkovic, Alexsandar Tolic, Ivanka Paligoric, and Vlastimir Bulovic reportedly participated in these experiments. [8] According to these officials, reprocessing ended in the late 70s, "equipment was removed," and the facilities submitted to IAEA safeguards. [9]

Sources:
[1] Slobodan Nakicenovic, Nuclear Energy in Yugoslavia, (Beograde: Export Press, 1961), p. 29.
[2] M. Susic, etal., "Separation of Uranium from Rare Earths and Some Other Elements by Extraction with Tri-n-Butyl Phosphate," Bulletin of the Boris Kidrich Institute of Nuclear Science, 1957, Vol. 7, p. 35-38; A. Tolic, "Laboratory Apparatus for Processing Uranium Fuel by Extraction," I. Description of Apparatus, Tehnika, 1967, Vol. 22, p. 131-134.
[3] D. Grdenic and B. Korpar, "The Complexing of Tetravalent Uranium With Dialkylpyrophosphoric Acid," Journal of Inorganic and Nuclear Chemistry, 1959, Vol. 12, p. 149-153.
[4] Z. Dizdar and D.H.W. den Boer, "Isolation of Plutonium by a Solvent Extraction Method," JENER-Report No. 45, 1956; Z. Dizdar and D.H.W. den Boer, "Purification of Plutonium by a Cation Exchanger," Journal of Inorganic and Nuclear Chemistry, 1956, Vol. 3, p. 323-325; V. Dizdar, "The Use of Pulse Columns for the Separation of Uranium Fission Products and Plutonium," Tehnika, 1958, Vol. 2, p. 281-285.
[5] D. Cjieticanin and S. Ratkovic, Bulletin of Boris Kidric Institute of Nuclear Science, Belgrade 16, 1965, p. 233.
[6] Eduard Popovic, "State of Nuclear Arms Industry," Zagreb Globus, 5 August 1994, available courtesy of the Federation of the Atomic Scientists, www.fas.org.
[7] Andrew Koch, "Yugoslavia's Nuclear Legacy: Should We Worry?" The Nonproliferation Review, Spring/Summer 1997, www.nonproliferation.org.
[8] Eduard Popovic, "State of Nuclear Arms Industry," Zagreb Globus, 5 August 1994, available courtesy of the Federation of the Atomic Scientists, www.fas.org.
[9] Andrew Koch, "Yugoslavia's Nuclear Legacy: Should We Worry?" The Nonproliferation Review, Spring/Summer 1997, www.nonproliferation.org; Original source: Sava P. Milovanovic, "Vinča : Energy Division," http://rt270.vin.bg.ac.yu:80; Eduard Popovic and Karlo Jeger, "State of Nuclear Arms Industry," Zagreb Globus, 5 August 1994, available courtesy of the Federation of the Atomic Scientists, www.fas.org.

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