Separation of rare earths from nuclear fuel by selective sulfurization

Toshifumi Nihei, Nobuaki Sato, Toshiaki Mitsugashira, Akira Kirishima

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

Abstract

For the recovery of fissile materials from spent nuclear fuel, a novel reprocessing process based on selective sulfurization was examined. This process consists of 1) voloxidation of spent fuel for decladding, 2) selective sulfurization of fission products (FPs) and 3) acid dissolution of sulfurized FPs. Sulfurization behavior of uranium oxides and doped FPs such as rare earth with CS2 was studied by XRD phase analysis of formed compounds. The sulfurization and acid dissolution behavior of doped cerium into U 3O8; was also studied as a chemical analog of plutonium. The acid dissolution of sulfurized FPs and cerium was demonstrated by using radioactive tracer 139Ce and 152Eu. Results are summarized as follows; 1) UO2 was oxidized to U3O8 by the voloxidation in air at 1000°C, while cerium and europium were reacted with U3O8 forming UO2 solid solution. 2) The doped europium was successfully sulfurized by CS2 at 500 °C, on the other hand, uranium was scarcely sulfurized but reduced from U3O 8 to UO2 at temperature below 500 °C. 3) The doped cerium was not sulfurized at temperature below 500°C. 4) The sulfurized europium dissolved into 1M nitric acid solution, while uranium and doped cerium were insoluble. From these results, it was indicated that uranium and plutonium in spent nuclear fuel could be recovered as oxides by the selective sulfurization method.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Minerals, Metals and Materials Society - 3rd International Conference on Processing Materials for Properties 2008, PMP III
Pages213-215
Number of pages3
Publication statusPublished - 2009 Dec 1
Event3rd International Conference on Processing Materials for Properties 2008, PMP III - Bangkok, Thailand
Duration: 2008 Dec 72008 Dec 10

Publication series

NameThe Minerals, Metals and Materials Society - 3rd International Conference on Processing Materials for Properties 2008, PMP III
Volume1

Other

Other3rd International Conference on Processing Materials for Properties 2008, PMP III
CountryThailand
CityBangkok
Period08/12/708/12/10

Keywords

  • Acid dissolution
  • Rare earths
  • Reprocessing
  • Selective sulfurization
  • Uranium

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)

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