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So I am aware that transmutation is used to reprocess radionuclides in nuclear waste to render them into shorter lived radioisotopes. But what about the potential for industrial scale nuclear alchemy to produces elements which are highly useful but whose demand exceeds their natural occurrence? This could include elements like Gallium and Germanium(among others). I read recently about Russian nuclear physicists producing Gold from Lead in a nuclear reactor but with a yield too low to be put to practical use.

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Happens all the time to create radioisotopes used for medical imaging. Mo-99 (typically made in reactors) and F-18 (cyclotron produced) are just a couple of them.

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  • $\begingroup$ Besides radioisotope production, what about the production of stable isotopes of chemical elements that are in high demand but fairly rare? $\endgroup$ – SavedbyZer0 Jan 1 '18 at 1:20
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Well the sad answer is no. Actually, transmutation has proven itself not to be the omnipotent cure for the nuclear waste problem. Numerous calculations have shown that it does not really quite do the job.

The idea was to build a test reactor in Belgium for the purpose. This plant was to be a hybrid between a lead cooled fast reactor and an accelerator driven core. Nowadays the transmutation part is almost abandoned and they plan to use it mainly as a neutron source.

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  • $\begingroup$ What I was talking about in terms of nuclear alchemy(elemental transmutation) was not just for the reprocessing of nuclear waste into stable isotopes, but industrial scale production of rare elements like Rhodium, Germanium, and even Gold from stale elements found in greater abundance. $\endgroup$ – SavedbyZer0 Jan 1 '18 at 1:19
  • $\begingroup$ Well gold, platinum etc. are produced as fission products. Using them however does not make much economical sense. $\endgroup$ – Alexander Cska Jan 1 '18 at 15:51

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