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Some new strategies for the chemical separation of actinides and lanthanides

Hudson, M.J. (2003) Some new strategies for the chemical separation of actinides and lanthanides. Czechoslovak Journal of Physics, 53 (1 Suppleme). A305-A311. ISSN 0011-4626

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1007/s10582-003-0039-2


A future goal in nuclear fuel reprocessing is the conversion or transmutation of the long-lived radioisotopes of minor actinides, such as americium, into short-lived isotopes by irradiation with neutrons. In order to achieve this transmutation, it is necessary to separate the minor actinides(III), [An(Ill)], from the lanthanides(III), [Ln(Ill)], by solvent extraction (partitioning), because the lanthanides absorb neutrons too effectively and hence limit neutron capture by the transmutable actinides. Partitioning using ligands containing only carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen and oxygen atoms is desirable because they are completely incinerable and thus the final volume of waste is minimised [1]. Nitric acid media will be used in the extraction experiments because it is envisaged that the An(III)/Ln(III) separation process could take place after the PUREX process. There is no doubt that the correct design of a molecule that is capable of acting as a ligand or extraction reagent is required for the effective separation of metal ions such as actinides(III) from lanthanides. Recent attention has been directed towards heterocyclic ligands with for the preferential separation of the minor actinides. Although such molecules have a rich chemistry, this is only now becoming sufficiently well understood in relation to the partitioning process [2]. The molecules shown in Figures I and 2 will be the principal focus of this study. Although the examples chosen here are used rather specific, the guidelines can be extended to other areas such as the separation of precious metals [3].

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Chemistry, Food and Pharmacy > Department of Chemistry
ID Code:11346
Uncontrolled Keywords:SOLVENT-EXTRACTION
Additional Information:14th Radiochemical Conference MARIANSKE LAZNE, CZECH REPUBLIC 14-19 Apr 2002

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