Nuclear Technology / Volume 170 / Number 3 / June 2010 / Pages 422-429
Technical Paper / Reprocessing
Recycle of nitric acid in the UREX+ process requires removal of acetic acid. An analysis of the effects of acetic acid in each process step indicates no step will be significantly affected by the concentrations expected. Thus, acetic acid removal can be placed after the last salts are removed, just before the nitric acid is recycled. Two promising removal options have been considered, solvent extraction and distillation. Distillation requires removal of most of the water before large fractions of acetic acid are removed. The process would be energy intensive and would involve the handling of extremely concentrated nitric acid; therefore, solvent extraction appears to be more attractive.