The direct selective separation of the trivalent actinides americium and curium from a simulated PUREX raffinate solution by a continuous counter-current solvent extraction process using miniature annular centrifugal contactors was demonstrated on a laboratory scale. In a 32-stage spiked test (12 stages for extraction, 16 stages for scrubbing, and 4 stages for Am/Cm stripping), an extractant mixture of CyMe4BTBP and TODGA in a TPH/1-octanol mixture was used. The co-extraction of some fission and corrosion product elements, such as zirconium and molybdenum, was prevented by using oxalic acid. Co-extracted palladium was selectively stripped using an L-cysteine scrubbing solution and the trivalent actinides were selectively stripped using a glycolic acid-based stripping solution. It was demonstrated that a selective extraction and high recovery of >99.4% of the trivalent minor actinides was achieved with low contamination by fission and corrosion products. The product contained 99.8% of the initial americium and 99.4% of the initial curium content. The spent solvent still contained high concentrations of Cu, Cd and Ni. The experimental steady-state concentration profiles of important solutes were determined and compared with those from computer-code calculations.
|Journal||Solvent Extraction and Ion Exchange|
|Publication status||Published - 2013|