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Decontamination of Molten Salt Wastes for Pyrochemical Reprocessing of Nuclear Fuels

  • Martin C. Stennett (a1), Matthew L. Hand (a1) and Neil C. Hyatt (a1)

Abstract

Pyrochemical reprocessing of nuclear fuels, in which electrochemical separation of actinides and fission products is mediated by a molten alkali chloride salt (typically a LiCl-KCl eutectic) is of interest for future nuclear energy cycles. A key challenge in the management of pyrochemical reprocessing wastes is decontamination and recycling of the molten salt medium to remove entrained actinides and radioactive lanthanide fission products. Since pyrochlore oxides are promising candidates for the immobilisation of lanthanides and actinides, we sought to use the “problematic” molten salt to our advantage as a reaction medium for low temperature synthesis of titanate pyrochlores. Through control of reaction time and temperature, we demonstrated the synthesis of lanthanide pyrochlores at temperatures as low as 700 °C in 1 h, compared to 1350 °C in 36 h for conventional solid state synthesis. The importance of this study is in demonstrating the potential feasibility for decontamination of pyrochemical reprocessing wastes by simple addition of TiO2 to form lanthanide and actinide pyrochlores by rapid molten salt assisted reaction at moderate temperature.

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References

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Keywords

Decontamination of Molten Salt Wastes for Pyrochemical Reprocessing of Nuclear Fuels

  • Martin C. Stennett (a1), Matthew L. Hand (a1) and Neil C. Hyatt (a1)

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