On the Mechanism of “Dissolution” in Liquids of PuO2 by Alpha Decay

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An experiment to understand subparticle formation by alpha decay of 239Pu in PuO2 particles shows that in vacuum at most a single 239Pu atom is ejected with the 235U recoil nucleus and that therefore direct spraying-out of multi-atom fragments does not occur. The most plausible model of the previously observed subparticle formation in water is that a damaged region is produced in the original particle and that the damage is subsequently released by exposure to water.

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