Description: Recovery of transuranic actinides (TRU) using electrorefining is a process being investigated as part of the Department of Energy (DOE) Advanced Fuel Cycle Initiative (AFCI). TRU recovery via electrorefining onto a solid cathode is very difficult as the thermodynamic properties of transuranics are not favourable for them to remain in the metal phase while significant quantities of uranium trichloride exist in the electrolyte. Theoretically, the concentration of transuranics in the electrolyte must be approximately 106 greater than the uranium concentration in the electrolyte to produce a transuranic deposit on a solid cathode. Using liquid cadmium as a cathode contained within a LiCl-KCl eutectic salt, the co-deposition of uranium and transuranics is feasible because the activity of the transuranics in liquid cadmium is very small. Depositing transuranics and uranium in a liquid cadmium cathode (LCC) theoretically requires the concentration of transuranics to be two to three times the uranium concentration in the electrolyte. Three LCC experiments were performed in an Engineering scale elecdtrorefiner, which is located in the argon hot cell of the Fuel Conditioning Facility at the Materials and Fuels Complex on the Idaho National Laboratory. Figure 1 contains photographs of the LCC assembly in the hot cell prior to the experiment and a cadmium ingot produced after the first LCC test. Figure 1. Liquid Cadmium Cathode (left) and Cadmium Ingot (right) The primary goal of the engineering-scale liquid cadmium cathode experiments was to electrochemically collect kilogram quantities of uranium and plutonium via a LCC. The secondary goal was to examine fission product contaminations in the materials collected by the LCC. Each LCC experiment used chopped spent nuclear fuel from the blanket region of the Experimental Breeder Reactor II loaded into steel baskets as the anode with the LCC containing 26 kg of cadmium metal. In each experiment, between one ...
Date: August 1, 2006
Creator: Vaden, D; Westphal, B. R.; Li, S. X.; Johnson, T. A.; Davies, K. B. & Pace, D. M.
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