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Effect of Entrainment and Overflow Occurrences on Concentration Profile in PUREX Flow Sheet

Yoshinori Ueda, Junichi Ishii, Shiro Matsumoto

Nuclear Technology

Volume 144 / Number 3 / December 2003 / Pages 358-368


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A deviation in the operational condition of a mixer settler and a centrifugal contactor causes an entrainment or an overflow, which affects the concentration profile. Although there has been no quantitative study about the effect of such abnormal flows on the concentration profile, the occurrence of such abnormal flows has been severely restricted for a PUREX flow sheet. However, the restriction of abnormal flows can be relaxed when the effect of such flows is limited within the allowable range such that the concentration of the product does not deviate from its specification. This relaxation could serve to benefit a continuous operation under a certain degree of deviation from the operational condition and a smaller design load of a solvent extractor. From this viewpoint, the relationship between the magnitude of abnormal flows and the effect of them on the process was studied quantitatively using a specially developed code in a wide range of PUREX flow sheet conditions, and the possibility of this relaxation was investigated. The results showed that the effect of the abnormal flow on the concentration in the organic outflow or aqueous raffinate was dominated by the leakage fraction under normal conditions regardless of each specific flow sheet condition. The common correlations were found between the leakage fraction of uranium and plutonium under the occurrence of abnormal flows and that under no abnormal flow for the stripping and extracting conditions, respectively. Comparing the given correlations and the usual specification of the leakage fraction of uranium and plutonium suggested that the restriction of the abnormal flows could be relaxed for a usual PUREX flow sheet.

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