The problem is this unstable form of "about.com:gold" discussed there is a "radioactive gold isotope
" lacking the normal number of neutrons in it's nucleus (normally equal to the number of protons) to be a stable form of gold as the normally-weighing natural chemical element.
The Baikal nuclear accident resulted in the unit having to be re-lined with lead to "cool-off" again, and a nasty radioactive release. As for using accelerators, the milligram-per-year home version of this would make an aluminum smelter's electric bills look like a bargainhttp://www.chm.bris.ac.uk/webprojects2002/crabb/modern.html
In 1972, Russian scientists found that the lead shielding of an experimental nuclear reactor near Lake Baikal in
Siberia had unexpectedly turned to gold!Unfortunately such gold is likely to be radioactive, and would decay back to stable lead, whilst releasing dangerous radiation.A possible route to gold would be from mercury.
If mercury of its various naturally occuring isotopes could be made to capture neutrons, the resulting nuclear decay chains would eventually yield gold-197, the most
common naturally occuring gold isotope, and perfectly stable.
The neutrons used in this process would need to have an energy of at least 9 MeV in order for a complete transmutation of the mercury to occur. These energies are well within the capabilities of nuclear reactors
however the gold is likely to be contamiated with other radioisotopes. Particle accelerators could therefore be the alternative...Particle Acceleration
In modern particle accelerators it is possible to accelerate neutrons to energies of above 9 MeV. This is enough to convert all of a naturally occuring sample of mercury into gold, as noted above.
However, as the atoms of mercury are mostly empty space with a central nucleus, most of the neutrons pass straight through the target. This makes the process of transmutation slow, and highly demanding of energy. The cost of this energy far outweighs the value of the gold produced and the transmutation is therefore not economically viable.Though particle acceleration may not be an economically viable method to produce gold, its transmuting abilities find applications in other areas.
Nuclear researchers have suggested a type of nuclear reactor which uses a proton beam to create neutrons in fissionable material from spent nuclear fuel. This system would be sub-critical without the source of neutrons but with it becomes a source of energy. At the same time this reduces long lived nuclear waste, with half lives in the order of millions of years, to short lived isotopes, whose half lives are only a few hundred years.
So maybe the Large Hadron Collider could (eventually) come in handy, but perhaps still not enough for cost-effective gold production alchemy...