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Radiochimica Acta

International Journal for chemical aspects of nuclear science and technology

Ed. by Qaim, Syed M.

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A review of the demonstration of innovative solvent extraction processes for the recovery of trivalent minor actinides from PUREX raffinate

1 / A. Wilden1 / A. Geist2 / D. Magnusson2 / R. Malmbeck3

1Institute of Energy and Climate Research – Nuclear Waste Management and Reactor Safety (IEK-6), Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH (FZJ), 52425 Jülich, Germany

2Karlsruher Institut für Technologie (KIT), Institut für Nukleare Entsorgung (INE), 76021 Karlsruhe, Germany

3European Commission, JRC, Institute for Transuranium Elements (ITU,) 76125 Karlsruhe, Germany

©2014 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin/Boston. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License, which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)

Citation Information: Radiochimica Acta. Volume 100, Issue 8-9, Pages 715–725, ISSN (Online) 2193-3405, ISSN (Print) 0033-8230, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1524/ract.2012.1962, April 2014

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The selective partitioning (P) of long-lived minor actinides fromhighly active waste solutions and their transmutation (T) to short-lived or stable isotopes by nuclear reactions will reduce the long-term hazard of the high-level waste and significantly shorten the time needed to ensure their safe confinement in a repository. The present paper summarizes the on-going research activities at Forschungszentrum Jülich (FZJ), Karlsruher Institut für Technologie (KIT) and Institute for Transuranium Elements (ITU) in the field of actinide partitioning using innovative solvent extraction processes. European research over the last few decades, i.e. in the NEWPART, PARTNEW and EUROPART programmes, has resulted in the development of multi-cycle processes for minor actinide partitioning. These multi-cycle processes are based on the co-separation of trivalent actinides and lanthanides (e.g. by the DIAMEX process), followed by the subsequent actinide(III)/lanthanide(III) group separation in the SANEX process. The current direction of research for the development of innovative processes within the recent European ACSEPT project is discussed additionally.

This paper is focused on the development of flow-sheets for recovery of americium and curium from highly active waste solutions. The flow-sheets are verified by demonstration processes, in centrifugal contactors, using synthetic or genuine fuel solutions. The feasibility of the processes is also discussed.

Keywords: Minor actinides; Partitioning; Solvent extraction; Americium; Curium

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