Chemical Processing Department Monthly Report: July 1957 Page: 86 of 107
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Research and Engineering HW-51802
234-5 DEVELOPMENT OPERATION
Continuous Ion Exchange
A week-long run made in the laboratory-scale continuous ion exchanger during
the past month provided further confide.ice in the Purex anion exchange proc-
ess. Operation was chemically satisfactory in all respects over the tempera-
ture range of 50 C - 70 C and over the feed acidity range of 5 M - 7.2 M HNO3.
The equipment is operable in excess of desired Purex flow rates. Difficulties
may be anticipated in the operation of inlet and outlet stream filters.
The exchanger was operated with Dower 1-h resin. The column were reduced
from 1" diameter to 1/2" diameter to permit prolonged operation, were provided
with heated water jackets to permit closer temperature control, and the product
outlet was raised above the slip-water outlet to permit effective separation
of these streams. Operation was on a 10-minute cycle consisting of 9.5 minutes
of solution flow and 0.5 minute of resin flow.
Flow rates were based on the desired specific feed rate of 514 mg Pu/min/cm2.
Operation was maintained at rates from this minimum to as much as 30 percent
greater. The resin flow rate was varied to maintain a fixed color line posi-
tion in the IA column. This resulted in quite low resin loading, 50 - 70 g Pu/1.
The elutant (0.35 M HNO3) flow rate was varied to maintain a fixed color line
position in the %C column. The product from this operation is consistently
near to its equilibrium value of about 58 g Pu/1. No attempt was made to keep
waste losses low in the short columns of the laboratory-scale unit. The longer
Purex unit columns will provide satisfactorily low waste losses.
Separation of slip water (XSW) from product was accomplished by a timer giving
a ratio of XSW/XCP of about 3/1 - 3.5/1. The XSW concentration was allowed to
reach 1 - 2 g Pu/1 to minimize product dilution.
Some important findings of this run are summarized:
1. The ratio of slip-water flow to resin flow appears to depend on the
volume of resin pushed for this equipment:
(ml resin per cycle)(ISW/IAI flow ratio)= constant (about 24)
A similar relationship should be valid for the Purex equipment.
2. A pressure of 10#/in2 has been found satisfactory to move the resin
under most conditions, though pressures to 25#/in2 have been necessary
at times. In general, higher pressures tend to compact the resin,
making it more difficult to flow. Higher pressures will also cause
plugging of outlet filters more rapidly.
3. A stainless twill filter cloth was used as the XAW outlet filter.
This behaved well for most of the run, buy eventually plugged. The
same problems will exist in the Purex equipment. The filters should
be arranged for easy replacement.
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Hanford Atomic Products Operation. Chemical Processing Department. Chemical Processing Department Monthly Report: July 1957, report, August 22, 1957; Richland, Washington. (https://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc1312193/m1/86/: accessed May 21, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, https://digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.