Observations of Oxygen Ion Behavior in the Lithium-Based Electrolytic Reduction of Uranium Oxide

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Parametric studies were performed on a lithium-based electrolytic reduction process at bench-scale to investigate the behavior of oxygen ions in the reduction of uranium oxide for various electrochemical cell configurations. Specifically, a series of eight electrolytic reduction runs was performed in a common salt bath of LiCl – 1 wt% Li2O. The variable parameters included fuel basket containment material (i.e., stainless steel wire mesh and sintered stainless steel) and applied electrical charge (i.e., 75 – 150% of the theoretical charge for complete reduction of uranium oxide in a basket to uranium metal). Samples of the molten salt electrolyte were taken ... continued below

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Herrmann, Steven D.; Li, Shelly X. & Serrano-Rodriguez, Brenda E. September 1, 2009.

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Parametric studies were performed on a lithium-based electrolytic reduction process at bench-scale to investigate the behavior of oxygen ions in the reduction of uranium oxide for various electrochemical cell configurations. Specifically, a series of eight electrolytic reduction runs was performed in a common salt bath of LiCl – 1 wt% Li2O. The variable parameters included fuel basket containment material (i.e., stainless steel wire mesh and sintered stainless steel) and applied electrical charge (i.e., 75 – 150% of the theoretical charge for complete reduction of uranium oxide in a basket to uranium metal). Samples of the molten salt electrolyte were taken at regular intervals throughout each run and analyzed to produce a time plot of Li2O concentrations in the bulk salt over the course of the runs. Following each run, the fuel basket was sectioned and the fuel was removed. Samples of the fuel were analyzed for the extent of uranium oxide reduction to metal and for the concentration of salt constituents, i.e., LiCl and Li2O. Extents of uranium oxide reduction ranged from 43 – 70% in stainless steel wire mesh baskets and 8 – 33 % in sintered stainless steel baskets. The concentrations of Li2O in the salt phase of the fuel product from the stainless steel wire mesh baskets ranged from 6.2 – 9.2 wt%, while those for the sintered stainless steel baskets ranged from 26 – 46 wt%. Another series of tests was performed to investigate the dissolution of Li2O in LiCl at 650 °C across various cathode containment materials (i.e., stainless steel wire mesh, sintered stainless steel and porous magnesia) and configurations (i.e., stationary and rotating cylindrical baskets). Dissolution of identical loadings of Li2O particulate reached equilibrium within one hour for stationary stainless steel wire mesh baskets, while the same took several hours for sintered stainless steel and porous magnesia baskets. Rotation of an annular cylindrical basket of stainless steel wire mesh accelerated the Li2O dissolution rate by more than a factor of six.

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  • Global 2009,Paris, France,09/06/2009,09/11/2009

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  • Report No.: INL/CON-08-15165
  • Grant Number: DE-AC07-05ID14517
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 968570
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc935138

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  • September 1, 2009

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  • Nov. 13, 2016, 7:26 p.m.

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  • Jan. 4, 2017, 2:26 p.m.

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Herrmann, Steven D.; Li, Shelly X. & Serrano-Rodriguez, Brenda E. Observations of Oxygen Ion Behavior in the Lithium-Based Electrolytic Reduction of Uranium Oxide, article, September 1, 2009; [Idaho]. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc935138/: accessed October 16, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.