Description: Aqueous biphasic extraction systems are being developed to treat radioactive wastes. The separation technique involves the selective partitioning of either solutes or colloid-size particles between two scible aqueous phases. Wet grinding of plutonium residues to an average particle size of one micron will be used to liberate the plutonium from the bulk of the particle matrix. The goal is to produce a plutonium concentrate that will integrate with existing and developing chemical recovery processes. Ideally, the process would produce a nonTRU waste stream. Coupling physical beneficiation with chemical processing will result in a substantial reduction in the volume of mixed wastes generated from dissolution recovery processes. As part of this program, we will also explore applications of aqueous biphasic extraction that include the separation and recovery of dissolved species such as metal ions and water-soluble organics. The expertise and data generated in this work will form the basis for developing more cost-effective processes for handling waste streams from environmental restoration and waste management activities within the DOE community. This report summarizes the experimental results obtained during the first year of this effort. Experimental efforts were focused on elucidating the surface and solution chemistry variables which govern partitioning behavior of plutonium and silica in aqueous biphasic extraction systems. Additional efforts were directed toward the development of wet grinding methods for producing ultrafine particles with diameters of one micron or less.
Date: August 1992
Creator: Chaiko, David J.; Mensah-Biney, R.; Mertz, C. J. & Rollins, A. N.
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