Concept of advanced spent fuel reprocessing based on ion exchange

Tatsuya Suzuki, Kazuyuki Takahashi, Masanobu Nogami, Masao Nomura, Masaki Ozawa, Shinichi Koyama, Hitosi Mimura, Reiko Fujita, Yasuhiko Fujii

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

2 Citations (Scopus)


Reprocessing based on ion exchange separation is proposed as a safe, proliferation-resistant technology. Tertiary pyridine resin was developed for ion exchange reprocessing. Working medium of the separation system is not nitric acid but hydrochloric acid aqueous solution. The system doesn't involve strong oxidizing reagent, such as nitric acid but involve chloride ions which works as the week neutron absorbers. The system can be operated at ambient temperatures and pressure. Thus the HCl-ion-exchange reprocessing is regarded as an inherently safe technology. Another advantage of HCl ion-exchange reprocessing is the proliferation-resistant nature. Both U(VI) and Pu(IV) ions are adsorbed in the pyridine type anion exchange resin at relatively high HCl concentration of 6M. At this condition, the adsorption distribution coefficient of Pu(IV) is smaller than that of U(VI). When uranium is elutedfrom the resin in the column, plutonium is simultaneously eluted from the column; Pu is recovered with uranium in the front part of uranium adsorption band. Pu(IV) can not be left in the resin after elution of uranium. The use of HCl in the ion-exchange reprocessing causes the problem of the plant materials. Sophisticated material technology is necessary to realize the ion exchange reprocessing using HCl. The technology is so sophisticated that only highly developed countries can hold the technology, thus the technology holding countries will be limited. The plant, therefore, can't be built under hidden state. In addition, another merit of the process would be the simplicity in operation. One phase, i.e., ion exchange resin is immobile, and the aqueous solution is the only mobile phase. Plant operation is made by the control of one aqueous solution phase. The plant simplicity would ease the international safeguard inspection efforts to be applicable to this kind of reprocessing plant. The present work shows the basic concept of ion exchange reprocessing using HCl medium. Furthermore, the ion exchange is appropriate for multi-element mutual separation rather than single element extraction. In the future, ion exchange reprocessing would be expected to be the comprehensive separation process for spent fuels to recover precious and usable elements and to reduce the amount of wastes.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGLOBAL 2007
Subtitle of host publicationAdvanced Nuclear Fuel Cycles and Systems
Number of pages4
Publication statusPublished - 2007
Externally publishedYes
EventGLOBAL 2007: Advanced Nuclear Fuel Cycles and Systems - Boise, ID, United States
Duration: 2007 Sep 92007 Sep 13

Publication series

NameGLOBAL 2007: Advanced Nuclear Fuel Cycles and Systems


OtherGLOBAL 2007: Advanced Nuclear Fuel Cycles and Systems
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityBoise, ID

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Fuel Technology
  • Nuclear Energy and Engineering


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