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Title: Spent nuclear fuel recycling with plasma reduction and etching

Abstract

A method of extracting uranium from spent nuclear fuel (SNF) particles is disclosed. Spent nuclear fuel (SNF) (containing oxides of uranium, oxides of fission products (FP) and oxides of transuranic (TRU) elements (including plutonium)) are subjected to a hydrogen plasma and a fluorine plasma. The hydrogen plasma reduces the uranium and plutonium oxides from their oxide state. The fluorine plasma etches the SNF metals to form UF 6 and PuF 4. During subjection of the SNF particles to the fluorine plasma, the temperature is maintained in the range of 1200-2000 deg K to: a) allow any PuF 6 (gas) that is formed to decompose back to PuF 4 (solid), and b) to maintain stability of the UF 6. Uranium (in the form of gaseous UF 6) is easily extracted and separated from the plutonium (in the form of solid PuF 4). The use of plasmas instead of high temperature reactors or flames mitigates the high temperature corrosive atmosphere and the production of PuF 6 (as a final product). Use of plasmas provide faster reaction rates, greater control over the individual electron and ion temperatures, and allow the use of CF 4 or NF 3 as the fluorine sources instead ofmore » F 2 or HF.« less

Inventors:
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE
OSTI Identifier:
1176447
Patent Number(s):
8,192,704
Application Number:
13/035,087
Assignee:
The United States of America as represented by the Department of Energy (Washington, DC)
DOE Contract Number:  
AC52-06NA25396
Resource Type:
Patent
Resource Relation:
Patent File Date: 2011 Feb 25
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
37 INORGANIC, ORGANIC, PHYSICAL, AND ANALYTICAL CHEMISTRY; 11 NUCLEAR FUEL CYCLE AND FUEL MATERIALS

Citation Formats

Kim, Yong Ho. Spent nuclear fuel recycling with plasma reduction and etching. United States: N. p., 2012. Web.
Kim, Yong Ho. Spent nuclear fuel recycling with plasma reduction and etching. United States.
Kim, Yong Ho. Tue . "Spent nuclear fuel recycling with plasma reduction and etching". United States. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1176447.
@article{osti_1176447,
title = {Spent nuclear fuel recycling with plasma reduction and etching},
author = {Kim, Yong Ho},
abstractNote = {A method of extracting uranium from spent nuclear fuel (SNF) particles is disclosed. Spent nuclear fuel (SNF) (containing oxides of uranium, oxides of fission products (FP) and oxides of transuranic (TRU) elements (including plutonium)) are subjected to a hydrogen plasma and a fluorine plasma. The hydrogen plasma reduces the uranium and plutonium oxides from their oxide state. The fluorine plasma etches the SNF metals to form UF6 and PuF4. During subjection of the SNF particles to the fluorine plasma, the temperature is maintained in the range of 1200-2000 deg K to: a) allow any PuF6 (gas) that is formed to decompose back to PuF4 (solid), and b) to maintain stability of the UF6. Uranium (in the form of gaseous UF6) is easily extracted and separated from the plutonium (in the form of solid PuF4). The use of plasmas instead of high temperature reactors or flames mitigates the high temperature corrosive atmosphere and the production of PuF6 (as a final product). Use of plasmas provide faster reaction rates, greater control over the individual electron and ion temperatures, and allow the use of CF4 or NF3 as the fluorine sources instead of F2 or HF.},
doi = {},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {2012},
month = {6}
}

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Works referenced in this record:

Decontamination Process Using CF 4 -O 2 Microwave Discharge Plasma at Atmospheric Pressure
journal, September 2000

  • Windarto, Hendri Firman; Matsumoto, Takeshi; Akatsuka, Hiroshi
  • Journal of Nuclear Science and Technology, Vol. 37, Issue 9
  • DOI: 10.1080/18811248.2000.9714957

Etching of uranium oxide with a non-thermal, atmospheric pressure plasma
journal, January 2004


Etching of UO2 in NF3 RF plasma glow discharge
journal, February 2000