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Title: Thermal Analysis of Surrogate Simulated Molten Salts with Metal Chloride Impurities for Electrorefining Used Nuclear Fuel

Abstract

This project is a fundamental study to measure thermal properties (liquidus, solidus, phase transformation, and enthalpy) of molten salt systems of interest to electrorefining operations, which are used in both the fuel cycle research & development mission and the spent fuel treatment mission of the Department of Energy. During electrorefining operations the electrolyte accumulates elements more active than uranium (transuranics, fission products and bond sodium). The accumulation needs to be closely monitored because the thermal properties of the electrolyte will change as the concentration of the impurities increases. During electrorefining (processing techniques used at the Idaho National Laboratory to separate uranium from spent nuclear fuel) it is important for the electrolyte to remain in a homogeneous liquid phase for operational safeguard and criticality reasons. The phase stability of molten salts in an electrorefiner may be adversely affected by the buildup of fission products in the electrolyte. Potential situations that need to be avoided are: (i) build up of fissile elements in the salt approaching the criticality limits specified for the vessel (ii) freezing of the salts due to change in the liquidus temperature and (iii) phase separation (non-homogenous solution) of elements. The stability (and homogeneity) of the phases can potentiallymore » be monitored through the thermal characterization of the salts, which can be a function of impurity concentration. This work describes the experimental results of typical salts compositions, consisting of chlorides of strontium, samarium, praseodymium, lanthanum, barium, cerium, cesium, neodymium, sodium and gadolinium (as a surrogate for both uranium and plutonium), used in the processing of used nuclear fuels. Differential scanning calorimetry was used to analyze numerous salt samples providing results on the thermal properties. The property of most interest to pyroprocessing is the liquidus temperature. It was previously known the liquidus temperature of the molten salt would change as spent fuel is processed through the Mk-IV electrorefiner. However, the extent of the increase in liquidus temperature was not known. This work is first of its kind in determining thermodynamic properties of a molten salt electrolyte containing transuranics, fission products and bond sodium. Experimental data concluded that the melting temperature of the electrolyte will become greater than the operating temperature of the Mk-IV ER during current fuel processing campaigns. Collected data also helps predict when the molten salt electrolyte will no longer be able to support electrorefining operations.« less

Authors:
; ;
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Idaho National Laboratory (INL)
Sponsoring Org.:
DOE - NE
OSTI Identifier:
1055967
Report Number(s):
INL/EXT-11-23511
DOE Contract Number:  
DE-AC07-05ID14517
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
11 NUCLEAR FUEL CYCLE AND FUEL MATERIALS; liquidus; Mk-IV; Molten Salt

Citation Formats

Gutknecht, Toni Y, Fredrickson, Guy L, and Utgikar, Vivek. Thermal Analysis of Surrogate Simulated Molten Salts with Metal Chloride Impurities for Electrorefining Used Nuclear Fuel. United States: N. p., 2012. Web. doi:10.2172/1055967.
Gutknecht, Toni Y, Fredrickson, Guy L, & Utgikar, Vivek. Thermal Analysis of Surrogate Simulated Molten Salts with Metal Chloride Impurities for Electrorefining Used Nuclear Fuel. United States. doi:10.2172/1055967.
Gutknecht, Toni Y, Fredrickson, Guy L, and Utgikar, Vivek. Sun . "Thermal Analysis of Surrogate Simulated Molten Salts with Metal Chloride Impurities for Electrorefining Used Nuclear Fuel". United States. doi:10.2172/1055967. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1055967.
@article{osti_1055967,
title = {Thermal Analysis of Surrogate Simulated Molten Salts with Metal Chloride Impurities for Electrorefining Used Nuclear Fuel},
author = {Gutknecht, Toni Y and Fredrickson, Guy L and Utgikar, Vivek},
abstractNote = {This project is a fundamental study to measure thermal properties (liquidus, solidus, phase transformation, and enthalpy) of molten salt systems of interest to electrorefining operations, which are used in both the fuel cycle research & development mission and the spent fuel treatment mission of the Department of Energy. During electrorefining operations the electrolyte accumulates elements more active than uranium (transuranics, fission products and bond sodium). The accumulation needs to be closely monitored because the thermal properties of the electrolyte will change as the concentration of the impurities increases. During electrorefining (processing techniques used at the Idaho National Laboratory to separate uranium from spent nuclear fuel) it is important for the electrolyte to remain in a homogeneous liquid phase for operational safeguard and criticality reasons. The phase stability of molten salts in an electrorefiner may be adversely affected by the buildup of fission products in the electrolyte. Potential situations that need to be avoided are: (i) build up of fissile elements in the salt approaching the criticality limits specified for the vessel (ii) freezing of the salts due to change in the liquidus temperature and (iii) phase separation (non-homogenous solution) of elements. The stability (and homogeneity) of the phases can potentially be monitored through the thermal characterization of the salts, which can be a function of impurity concentration. This work describes the experimental results of typical salts compositions, consisting of chlorides of strontium, samarium, praseodymium, lanthanum, barium, cerium, cesium, neodymium, sodium and gadolinium (as a surrogate for both uranium and plutonium), used in the processing of used nuclear fuels. Differential scanning calorimetry was used to analyze numerous salt samples providing results on the thermal properties. The property of most interest to pyroprocessing is the liquidus temperature. It was previously known the liquidus temperature of the molten salt would change as spent fuel is processed through the Mk-IV electrorefiner. However, the extent of the increase in liquidus temperature was not known. This work is first of its kind in determining thermodynamic properties of a molten salt electrolyte containing transuranics, fission products and bond sodium. Experimental data concluded that the melting temperature of the electrolyte will become greater than the operating temperature of the Mk-IV ER during current fuel processing campaigns. Collected data also helps predict when the molten salt electrolyte will no longer be able to support electrorefining operations.},
doi = {10.2172/1055967},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {2012},
month = {4}
}

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