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The Plutonium Handbook, second edition

After 50 years, the authoritative nuclear science reference has been updated.
July 18, 2019
Editors

David Geeson, of the UK’s Atomic Weapons Establishment; Robert Hanrahan, chief science advisor at the National Nuclear Security Administration; and David Clark, director of the National Security Education Center at Los Alamos National Laboratory, are the editors of the second edition of the Plutonium Handbook.

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“It is essential to capture and document the science and technology of plutonium to help train a future generation of scientists and engineers.” - Sig Hecker

Plutonium was first produced and detected in 1940. Twenty-seven years later, in 1967, the Plutonium Handbook was published, quickly establishing itself as the authoritative source on plutonium science and technology.

Now, 52 years and scads of research later, the Plutonium Handbook is getting an update. The second edition—edited by David Clark, David Geeson, and Robert Hanrahan, Jr.—comprises seven volumes with contributions from 215 authors representing 13 countries. The updates include new topics, such as electronic structure, environmental behavior, power source technologies for space exploration, and microbiology; there’s also an entire volume dedicated solely to techniques for working with plutonium.

The second edition was compiled by a team at Los Alamos and will be published in 2019 by the American Nuclear Society. “The 2019 publication of this update is timely because nuclear laboratories around the world are experiencing a significant changeover in personnel,” says former Laboratory director Sig Hecker, who wrote the book’s foreword. “It is essential to capture and document the science and technology of plutonium to help train a future generation of scientists and engineers.”