Interference of Zr(IV) during the extraction of trivalent Nd(III) from the aqueous waste generated from metallic fuel reprocessing

T. Prathibha 1 , K. Rama Swami 1 , 2 , S. Sriram 1 ,  and K. A. Venkatesan 1 , 3
  • 1 Materials Chemistry and Metal Fuel Cycle Group, Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research, Kalpakkam 603 102, India
  • 2 Homi Bhabha National Institute, Training School Complex, Anushakti Nagar, Mumbai 400094, India
  • 3 Homi Bhabha National Institute, Training School Complex, Anushakti Nagar, Mumbai 400094, India
T. Prathibha
  • Materials Chemistry and Metal Fuel Cycle Group, Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research, Kalpakkam 603 102, India
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, K. Rama Swami
  • Materials Chemistry and Metal Fuel Cycle Group, Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research, Kalpakkam 603 102, India
  • Homi Bhabha National Institute, Training School Complex, Anushakti Nagar, Mumbai 400094, India
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, S. Sriram
  • Materials Chemistry and Metal Fuel Cycle Group, Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research, Kalpakkam 603 102, India
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and K. A. Venkatesan
  • Corresponding author
  • Materials Chemistry and Metal Fuel Cycle Group, Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research, Kalpakkam 603 102, India
  • Homi Bhabha National Institute, Training School Complex, Anushakti Nagar, Mumbai 400094, India
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Abstract

A metallic alloy of uranium–zirconium and uranium–plutonium–zirconium has been proposed as a fuel for fast reactors, owing to the possibility of achieving high breeding ratio in a short span of time. About 6–10 wt.% of zirconium has been added to these actinide fuels to increase the melting temperature and thermal-mechanical stability. Aqueous reprocessing of the spent metallic fuel generates the high-level liquid waste (HLLW) that contains about 60 % of the total zirconium from the fuel. In view of this, the extraction behavior of a trivalent representative ion, Nd(III) in the presence of Zr(IV) was studied from nitric acid medium using the candidate ligands proposed for trivalent actinide separation from HLLW, such as N,N,NN′-tetraoctyldiglycolamide (TODGA), and N,N-di-octyl-2-hydroxyacetamide (DOHyA). The extraction was studied as a function of nitric acid concentration, zirconium and neodymium concentration and Nd(III) to Zr(IV) ratio. The findings of dynamic light scattering (DLS) and ATR-FTIR spectral techniques were used for understanding the complex chemistry of Zr(IV) extraction under different conditions. Poor extraction of nitric acid, smaller aggregate size, no third phase formation during the extraction of Zr(IV) and Nd(III) and other unique solvent properties favor the DOHyA molecule in n-dodecane as a solvent for partitioning of trivalent actinides from HLLW generated from metallic fuel reprocessing.

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Radiochimica Acta publishes original papers, review articles, and “rapid communications” (short articles of a more timely interest) on all chemical aspects of nuclear science and technology. The journal is geared toward scientists who are actively engaged in research work.

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