Development of a new aqueous process for nuclear fuel reprocessing: Hot tests on the recovery of U and Pu from a nitric acid solution of spent LWR fuel

Aimé Bruggeman, Patrick Goethals, Y Wei, T Arai, H Hoshi, M Kumagai

    Research outputpeer-review


    We have studied a new aqueous reprocessing system which consists of anion exchange as main separation method, electrolytic reduction for reducing U(VI) to U(IV) and extraction chromatography for MA partitioning. In this work, hot tests were carried out on the main flow sheet (U and Pu recovery) using a nitric acid solution of a spent commercial BWR-fuel with burnup of 55,000 MWd/tHM. Firstly, a separation experiment was conducted using a column packed with AR-01 anion exchanger, and the separation behavior of about 20 elements was examined. Then electrolytic reduction was performed for the U(VI)-eluate from the 1st column using a flow type electrolysis cell. Subsequently, the reduced U-solution was applied to the 2nd AR-01 column to separate the U(IV) from contaminated FPs. Most amounts of Pu(IV)-Np(IV) were successfully separated and recovered in the 1st column. In the electrolysis, U(VI), Np(V,VI) and a trace amount of Pu(VI) were reduced to U(IV), Np(IV) and Pu(IV), respectively. In the 2nd column, the U(IV) with small amounts of Np(IV) and Pu(IV) was completely separated from FPs. These results demonstrated that the proposed U and Pu recovery process is essentially feasible, though more effective elution methods for Pd and Tc need to be investigated further.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)217-231
    JournalNuclear Technology
    Issue number2
    StatePublished - Feb 2005

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