SASSE MODELING OF A URANIUM MOLYBDENUM SEPARATION FLOWSHEET

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H-Canyon Engineering (HCE) is evaluating the feasibility of processing material from the Super Kukla Prompt Burst Reactor, which operated at the Nevada Test Site from 1964 to 1978. This material is comprised of 90 wt % uranium (U) (at approximately 20% 235U enrichment) alloyed with 10 wt % molybdenum (Mo). The objective is to dissolve the material in nitric acid (HNO{sub 3}) in the H-Canyon dissolvers and then to process the dissolved material through H-Canyon First and Second Cycle solvent extraction. The U product from Second Cycle will be sent to the highly enriched uranium (HEU) blend down program. In ... continued below

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Laurinat, J May 31, 2007.

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H-Canyon Engineering (HCE) is evaluating the feasibility of processing material from the Super Kukla Prompt Burst Reactor, which operated at the Nevada Test Site from 1964 to 1978. This material is comprised of 90 wt % uranium (U) (at approximately 20% 235U enrichment) alloyed with 10 wt % molybdenum (Mo). The objective is to dissolve the material in nitric acid (HNO{sub 3}) in the H-Canyon dissolvers and then to process the dissolved material through H-Canyon First and Second Cycle solvent extraction. The U product from Second Cycle will be sent to the highly enriched uranium (HEU) blend down program. In the blend down program, enriched U from the 1EU product stream will be blended with natural U at a ratio of 1 part enriched U per 3.5 parts natural U to meet a reactor fuel specification of 4.95% 235U before being shipped for use by the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) in its nuclear plants. The TVA specification calls for <200 mg Mo/g U (200 ppm). Since natural U has about 10 mg Mo/g U, the required purity of the 1EU product prior to blending is about 800 mg Mo/g U, allowing for uncertainties. HCE requested that the Savannah River National Laboratory (SRNL) define a flowsheet for the safe and efficient processing of the U-10Mo material. This report presents a computational model of the solvent extraction portion of the proposed flowsheet. The two main objectives of the computational model are to demonstrate that the Mo impurity requirement can be met and to show that the solvent feed rates in the proposed flowsheet, in particular to 1A and 1D Banks, are adequate to prevent refluxing of U and thereby ensure nuclear criticality safety. SASSE (Spreadsheet Algorithm for Stagewise Solvent Extraction), a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet that supports Argonne National Laboratory's proprietary AMUSE (Argonne Model for Universal Solvent Extraction) code, was selected to model the U/Mo separation flowsheet. SASSE spreadsheet models of H-Canyon First and Second Cycle solvent extraction show that a standard unirradiated fuel flowsheet is capable of separating U from Mo in dissolved solutions of a U/Mo alloy. The standard unirradiated fuel flowsheet is used, except for increases in solvent feed rates to prevent U refluxing and thereby ensure nuclear criticality safety and substitution of higher HNO{sub 3} concentrations for aluminum nitrate (Al(NO{sub 3})){sub 3} in the feed to 1A Bank. (Unlike Savanah River Site (SRS) fuels, the U/Mo material contains no aluminum (Al). As a result, higher HNO3 concentrations are required in the 1AF to provide the necessary salting.) The TVA limit for the final blended product is 200 {micro}g Mo/g U, which translates to approximately 800 mg Mo/g U for the Second Cycle product solution. SASSE calculations give a Mo impurity level of 4 {micro}g Mo/g U in the Second Cycle product solution, conservatively based on Mo organic-to-aqueous distributions measured during minibank testing for previous processing of Piqua reactor fuel. The calculated impurity level is slightly more than two orders of magnitude lower than the required level. The Piqua feed solution contained a significant concentration of Al(NO{sub 3}){sub 3}, which is not present in the feed solution for the proposed flowsheet. Measured distribution data indicate that, without Al(NO{sub 3}){sub 3} or other salting agents present, Mo extracts into the organic phase to a much lesser extent, so that the overall U/Mo separation is better and the Mo impurities in the Second Cycle product drop to negligible concentrations. The 1DF U concentration of 20 g/L specified by the proposed flowsheet requires an increased 1DX organic feed rate to satisfy H-Canyon Double Contingency Analysis (DCA) guidelines for the prevention of U refluxing. The ranges for the 1AX, 1BS, and 1DX organic flow rates in the proposed flowsheet are set so that the limiting ratios of organic/aqueous flow rates exactly meet the minimum values specified by the DCA.

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  • Report No.: WSRC-STI-2007-00111
  • Grant Number: DE-AC09-96SR18500
  • DOI: 10.2172/908929 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 908929
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc881608

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  • May 31, 2007

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Sept. 22, 2016, 2:13 a.m.

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  • Nov. 2, 2016, 1:09 p.m.

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Laurinat, J. SASSE MODELING OF A URANIUM MOLYBDENUM SEPARATION FLOWSHEET, report, May 31, 2007; [Aiken, South Carolina]. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc881608/: accessed October 19, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.