Measurement of achievable plutonium decontamination from gallium by means of PUREX solvent extraction

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The objective of the work described herein was to measure, experimentally, the achievable decontamination of plutonium from gallium by means of the PUREX solvent extraction process. Gallium is present in surplus weapons-grade plutonium (WG-Pu) at a concentration of approximately 1 wt%. Plans are to dispose of surplus WG-Pu by converting it to UO{sub 2}-PuO{sub 2} mixed oxide (MOX) fuel and irradiating it in commercial power reactors. However, the presence of high concentrations of gallium in plutonium is a potential corrosion problem during the process of MOX fuel irradiation. The batch experiments performed in this study were designed to measure the ... continued below

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24 pages

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Collins, E.D.; Campbell, D.O. & Felker, L.K. January 1, 2000.

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Description

The objective of the work described herein was to measure, experimentally, the achievable decontamination of plutonium from gallium by means of the PUREX solvent extraction process. Gallium is present in surplus weapons-grade plutonium (WG-Pu) at a concentration of approximately 1 wt%. Plans are to dispose of surplus WG-Pu by converting it to UO{sub 2}-PuO{sub 2} mixed oxide (MOX) fuel and irradiating it in commercial power reactors. However, the presence of high concentrations of gallium in plutonium is a potential corrosion problem during the process of MOX fuel irradiation. The batch experiments performed in this study were designed to measure the capability of the PUREX solvent extraction process to separate gallium from plutonium under idealized conditions. Radioactive tracing of the gallium with {sup 72}Ga enabled the accurate measurement of low concentrations of extractable gallium. The experiments approximated the proposed flowsheet for WG-Pu purification, except that only one stage was used for each process: extraction, scrubbing, and stripping. With realistic multistage countercurrent systems, much more efficient separations are generally obtained. The gallium decontamination factor (DF) obtained after one extraction stage was about 3 x 10{sup 6}. After one scrub stage, all gallium measurements were less than the detection limit, which corresponded to DFs >5 x 10{sup 6}. All these values exceed a 10{sup 6} DF needed to meet a hypothetical 10-ppb gallium impurity limit in MOX fuel. The results of this study showed no inherent or fundamental problem with regard to removing gallium from plutonium.

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24 pages

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INIS; OSTI as DE00750973

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  • Other Information: PBD: 1 Jan 2000

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  • Report No.: ORNL/TM--1999/312
  • Grant Number: AC05-96OR22464
  • DOI: 10.2172/750973 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 750973
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc702660

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  • January 1, 2000

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  • Sept. 12, 2015, 6:31 a.m.

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  • Jan. 25, 2016, 12:18 p.m.

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Collins, E.D.; Campbell, D.O. & Felker, L.K. Measurement of achievable plutonium decontamination from gallium by means of PUREX solvent extraction, report, January 1, 2000; Tennessee. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc702660/: accessed December 16, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.