Solvent problems in first PUREX cycle

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In March, 1988, the first PUREX cycle suffered uranium contamination of the solvent, 30% TBP in n-paraffin. Initial indication of maloperation was uranium contamination of the plutonium product stream, 1BP. Uranium in relatively large quantities, 10{sup {minus}3} to 10{sup {minus}4} g/L, was found in the solvent in Tank 14.7. This tank contains first cycle solvent that has been through the solvent washing system and is destined for return back to the cycle. Solvent, contained in Tank 14.7 under normal operating conditions, has <1 {times} 10{sup {minus}4} g U/L following the carbonate-acid-carbonate washing sequence. Work at SRL showed that the interfacial ... continued below

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7 p.

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Holcomb, H. P. March 30, 1988.

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Description

In March, 1988, the first PUREX cycle suffered uranium contamination of the solvent, 30% TBP in n-paraffin. Initial indication of maloperation was uranium contamination of the plutonium product stream, 1BP. Uranium in relatively large quantities, 10{sup {minus}3} to 10{sup {minus}4} g/L, was found in the solvent in Tank 14.7. This tank contains first cycle solvent that has been through the solvent washing system and is destined for return back to the cycle. Solvent, contained in Tank 14.7 under normal operating conditions, has <1 {times} 10{sup {minus}4} g U/L following the carbonate-acid-carbonate washing sequence. Work at SRL showed that the interfacial tension of the contaminated solvent, as sampled, was 2.5, indicating that substances, possibly long chain acids, were present that could affect disengaging times for the solvent. Virgin 30% TBP in n-paraffin has a interfacial tension of around 10 or better, for example. Tests conducted by Reif also showed that the contaminated solvent picked up significantly more fission products, Ru{sup 106} and Zr{sup 95}, than did virgin solvent. The contaminated solvent, following contact with alumina, had a greatly improved interfacial tension of 9.5 and exhibited much less pickup of both Ru{sup 106} and Zr{sup 95}. In a H-Area process testing, contact of process solvent with alumina produced improved interfacial tension values and reduced Zr{sup 95} pickup by the 7.5% TBP used there. From these tests, it is concluded that the contaminated solvent resulted from inefficient washing in the solvent washing system for first PUREX cycle. Nominal solvent chemistry should result if the solvent is properly washed in the carbonate-acid-carbonate process cycle. However, attention and study should be given to this solvent system because of the decline of its interfacial tension values. Such deterioration in solvent quality could be a portent of problems to come. Treatment with alumina, as was done with H-Area solvent, may become necessary.

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7 p.

Notes

OSTI as DE99002886

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  • Other Information: PBD: 30 Mar 1988

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  • Other: DE99002886
  • Report No.: DPSP--88-272-43
  • Grant Number: AC09-89SR18035;AC09-76SR00001
  • DOI: 10.2172/353218 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 353218
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc679484

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Creation Date

  • March 30, 1988

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • July 25, 2015, 2:20 a.m.

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  • March 23, 2016, 11:03 a.m.

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Holcomb, H. P. Solvent problems in first PUREX cycle, report, March 30, 1988; Aiken, South Carolina. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc679484/: accessed December 15, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.