November 2016 Meeting

Monday, November 14, 2016
6:00 - 7:30 pm

Pellissippi State Technical Community College
10915 Hardin Valley Road, Knoxville
J.L Goins Administration Building, Faculty-Staff Dining Room


The Oak Ridge National Laboratory Role in the Discovery of Element 117

Julie G. Ezold
Nuclear Materials Processing Group
Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Oak Ridge, Tennessee


ORNL is internationally recognized for its unique capabilities to produce actinide materials as well as the ability to craft the actinide targets utilized in the discovery of new elements.  Blending these capabilities has allowed ORNL to play a major role in the creation of new super-heavy elements and their isotopes.  In 2009 the 249Bk produced at ORNL was sent to the Joint Institute of Nuclear Research in Russia for the experiment that led to the new element 117.  With the discovery of element 117, these new super-heavy elements and their isotopes are supporting the confirmation of the “island of stability” model proposed by Glen Seaborg.  Current experiments in both Russia and Germany are leading to the discovery of new elements 119 and 120 utilizing actinides from ORNL.  Future experiments include the search for the heaviest nuclei of element 118 using a mixed-californium target to be provided by ORNL.


Ms. Ezold has over 20 years experience in the nuclear sciences and is currently the 252Cf Program Manager. She is responsible for the technical aspects as well as the program management activities of each curium target campaign. Typical campaign activities include target fabrication, target approval for insertion into the High Flux Isotope Reactor, chemical processing of irradiated targets, and final source fabrication. Campaign products include, but are not limited to 252Cf, 249Bk, 253Es, and other trans-curium products. These trans-curium products have recently been used in the discovery of a new element, Element 117. In addition to her responsibilities as the Californium Program Manager, Ms. Ezold is responsible for planning and overseeing of other industrial isotopes including: 14C, 63Ni, 75Se, and 273Np.

Ms. Ezold holds a BS, Nuclear Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (1990) and a Masters, Nuclear Engineering, from North Carolina State University (1992). Her master’s research was conducted at the High Flux Isotope Reactor at ORNL. After completing her master’s, she joined the staff at ORNL and has held positions in engineering, waste management, criticality safety, and isotope production.


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