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Enhancement of Decontamination Performance of Impurities for Uranyl Nitrate Hexahydrate Crystalline Particles by Crystal Purification Operation

Masaumi Nakahara, Tsutomu Koizumi, Kazunori Nomura

Nuclear Technology / Volume 174 / Number 1 / April 2011 / Pages 77-84

Technical Paper / Chemical Reprocessing

A crystal purification process consisting of sweating and melt filtration was developed to improve decontamination factors (DFs) of fission product impurities from uranyl nitrate hexahydrate (UNH) crystal recovered from a dissolver solution of irradiated fast reactor core fuel. Batch experiments on the sweating and melt filtration processes were carried out at 56 to 80°C. Although the DFs of solid impurities such as Cs and Ba remain the same in the sweating process, those of liquid impurities such as Zr, Nb, Ru, Ce, and Eu were 2.32, 2.40, 2.50, 2.45, and 2.60 at 60°C. On the other hand, the DF of Pu for the UNH crystal slightly increased to 1.25 at 60°C. Because Pu incorporated the UNH crystal in both the solid impurities such as Cs2Pu(NO3)6 and in the liquid impurities, Pu in the liquid fraction was removed by the sweating operation. Decontamination of liquid impurities was effective with sweating time and with a rise in sweating temperature. In the melt filtration process, 0.45- to 5.0-m-diam filters were used for the separation of the molten UNH crystal. The DF of Ba was approximately ten times as high as the crude crystal with 0.45- to 5.0-m-diam filters. The particle size of Pu and Cs formed as Cs2Pu(NO3)6 was quite small. As a proof of this, although the decontamination of Pu and Cs was not effective with a 5.0-m-diam filter, their DFs rose 2.7 times using a 0.45-m-diam filter.

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