Reprocessing of nuclear fuels by volatilization

Jean Schmets, G. Camozzo, Aldo Francesconi, P. Godrie, René Heremans, G. Pierini, Philippe Speeckaert

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    The present document describes the contribution made by Belgium in the field of reprocessing by halogenation. Different cycles have been studied for some ceramic fuels in the form of oxide or carbide, and for osme uranium alloys.
    The oxides and the carbides are submitted to a series of gas-solid reactions which, on the one hand, pulverize the fuel and facilitate the formation of plutonium and uranium hexafluorides, and, on the other hand, permit the spreading of the heat liberated during these transformations.
    Of the cycles studied for oxides, special stress is laid on those reaction sequences calling for pulverizing by oxyen, and hydrofluorination of the products so obtained. Uranium and plutonium can then be volatilized successively by the use of respectively, chlorine trifluoride and fluorine. Another possibility is the simultaneous volatilization of fissile and fertile materials by fluorine.
    For uranium monocarbide, the reprocessing cycle proposed is hydrofluorination, followed by fluorination.
    Although no operations have been performed on real fuels, the results of pilot studies give reason to believe that the recovery of uranium will surpass 99 per cent. A large technological effort has still to be made to apply the basic knowledge already acquired for the separation of uranium and plutonium and for the recuperation of the latter in a suitable form.
    Investigations of the separation of the constituents of several alloys have also been made, in particular for the MTR type of fuel.
    Original languageEnglish
    PublisherSCK CEN
    Number of pages24
    StatePublished - Aug 1964

    Publication series

    NameSCK CEN Reports
    PublisherSCK CEN

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