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Radiochimica Acta

International Journal for chemical aspects of nuclear science and technology

Ed. by Qaim, Syed M.

12 Issues per year

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Demonstration of the LUCA process for the separation of americium(III) from curium(III), californium(III), and lanthanides(III) in acidic solution using a synergistic mixture of bis(chlorophenyl)dithiophosphinic acid and tris(2-ethylhexyl)phosphate

Giuseppe Modolo* / Paul Kluxen1 / Andreas Geist2

1 Forschungszentrum Jülich, Institute for Energy Research, Jülich

2 Forschungszentrum Karlsruhe GmbH, Institut für Nukleare Entsorgung, Karlsruhe, Deutschland

* Correspondence address: Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH, Institute for Safety Research and Reactor Technolo, 52425 Jülich, Deutschland,

Citation Information: Radiochimica Acta International journal for chemical aspects of nuclear science and technology. Volume 98, Issue 4, Pages 193–201, ISSN (Print) 0033-8230, DOI: 10.1524/ract.2010.1708, April 2010

Publication History

Published Online:


The LUCA process was developed at Forschungszentrum Jülich for the selective separation of Am(III) from an acidic solution containing the trivalent actinides Am(III), Cm(III), and Cf(III) as well as lanthanides. A mixture of 0.4 mol/L bis(chlorophenyl)dithiophosphinic acid and 0.15 mol/L tris(2-ethylhexyl)phosphate dissolved in 20% isooctane/80% tert-butyl benzene was used as the extractant. The process was carried out in centrifugal contactors using an optimized flowsheet involving 7 stages for extraction, 9 stages for scrubbing and 8 stages for back-extraction. Very encouraging results were obtained. A high feed decontamination factor was obtained for Am(III) (>1000), and recovery in the product after stripping was higher than 99.8%. The Am(III) product was contaminated with 0.47% Cm(III). More than 99.9% Cf(III), Eu(III) and >99.5% Cm(III) inventories were directed to the raffinate and the contamination with Am(III) (<0.08%) was low. The experimental results were in good agreement with the predictions of a computer code.

Keywords: Minor actinides; Lanthanides; Americium; Curium; Partitioning

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