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Separation of the minor actinides americium(III) and curium(III) by hydrophobic and hydrophilic BTPhen ligands: exploiting differences in their rates of extraction and effective separations at equilibrium

Lewis, F. W., Harwood, L. M., Hudson, M. J., Afsar, A., Laventine, D. M., John, J., Stastna, K. and Distler, P. (2018) Separation of the minor actinides americium(III) and curium(III) by hydrophobic and hydrophilic BTPhen ligands: exploiting differences in their rates of extraction and effective separations at equilibrium. Solvent Extraction and Ion Exchange, 36 (2). pp. 115-135. ISSN 0736-6299

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1080/07366299.2018.1429358

Abstract/Summary

The complexation and extraction of the adjacent minor actinides Am(III) and Cm(III) by both hydrophobic and hydrophilic pre-organized 2,9-bis(1,2,4-triazin-3-yl)-1,10-phenanthroline (BTPhen) ligands has been studied in detail. It has been shown that Am(III) is extracted more rapidly than Cm(III) by the hydrophobic CyMe4-BTPhen ligand into different organic diluents under non-equilibrium extraction conditions, leading to separation factors for Am over Cm (SFAm/Cm) as high as 7.9. Furthermore, the separation of Am(III) from Cm(III) can be tuned through careful choice of the extraction conditions (organic diluent, contact time, mixing speed, ligand concentration). This ‘kinetic’ effect is attributed to the higher presumed kinetic lability of the Am(III) aqua complex towards ligand substitution. A dependence of the Am(III)/Cm(III) selectivity on the structure of the alkyl groups attached to the triazine rings is also observed, and BTPhens bearing linear alkyl groups are less able to separate Am(III) from Cm(III) than CyMe4-BTPhen. Under equilibrium extraction conditions, hydrophilic tetrasulfonated BTPhen ligands complex selectively Am(III) over Cm(III) and prevent the extraction of Am(III) from nitric acid by the hydrophobic O-donor ligand N,N,N’,N’-tetraoctyldiglycolamide (TODGA), giving separation factors for Cm(III) over Am(III) (SFCm/Am) of up to 4.6. These results further underline the utility of the BTPhen ligands for the extremely challenging separation of the chemically similar minor actinides Am(III) and Cm(III) in future processes to close the nuclear fuel cycle.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Interdisciplinary centres and themes > Chemical Analysis Facility (CAF)
Faculty of Life Sciences > School of Chemistry, Food and Pharmacy > Department of Chemistry
Interdisciplinary centres and themes > Chemical Analysis Facility (CAF) > Mass Spectrometry (CAF)
Interdisciplinary centres and themes > Chemical Analysis Facility (CAF) > NMR (CAF)
Interdisciplinary centres and themes > Chemical Analysis Facility (CAF) > Spectrometry (CAF)
ID Code:73211
Publisher:Taylor & Francis

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