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Development and applications of aqueous fluoride chemistry for nuclear fuel dissolution. (Chemistry Paper Abstracts).

Jerry D. Christian*

Advances in aqueous fluoride chemistry have been made as the result of processing naval Zircaloy nuclear fuels for uranium recovery. These include 1) the development of metal electrodes for amperometrically measuring free HF without interference from nitric acid and fluoride complexes, and 2) thermodynamic speciation models for predicting multiple fluoride species equilibrium concentrations in aqueous-organic phase equilibria. The electrodes were essential for determination of the sequential metal fluoride complexation constants that were incorporated into the speciation routine. Descriptions will be given of these tools and of examples of their use in developing and controlling the process chemistry in specific applications at the INEEL, other DOE and industrial sites, and Russia. In these processes, the free HF concentration is important in modeling and controlling dissolution effectiveness, vessel corrosion, precipitates, and actinide extraction. Technologies and developments that utilize these tools inclu de: continuous dissolution of naval fuels with on-line monitoring and control of fluoride complexation; dissolution chemistry for sand-slag-crucible plutonium residues, for Russian Sapphire U-Be fuel, and for irradiated neptunium oxide in aluminum targets for Pu-238 production; extraction of actinides in the presence of zirconium in acidic solutions; and development of a non-mercury catalyst, fluoboric acid, for dissolving aluminum nuclear fuels in nitric acid.

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Author:Christian, Jerry D.
Publication:Journal of the Idaho Academy of Science
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jun 1, 2001
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