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Title: Recovery of uranium from an irradiated solid target after removal of molybdenum-99 produced from the irradiated target

Abstract

A process for minimizing waste and maximizing utilization of uranium involves recovering uranium from an irradiated solid target after separating the medical isotope product, molybdenum-99, produced from the irradiated target. The process includes irradiating a solid target comprising uranium to produce fission products comprising molybdenum-99, and thereafter dissolving the target and conditioning the solution to prepare an aqueous nitric acid solution containing irradiated uranium. The acidic solution is then contacted with a solid sorbent whereby molybdenum-99 remains adsorbed to the sorbent for subsequent recovery. The uranium passes through the sorbent. The concentrations of acid and uranium are then adjusted to concentrations suitable for crystallization of uranyl nitrate hydrates. After inducing the crystallization, the uranyl nitrate hydrates are separated from a supernatant. The process results in the purification of uranyl nitrate hydrates from fission products and other contaminants. The uranium is therefore available for reuse, storage, or disposal.

Inventors:
; ; ;
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE
OSTI Identifier:
1399866
Patent Number(s):
9,793,023
Application Number:
14/042,115
Assignee:
Los Alamos National Security, LLC LANL
DOE Contract Number:
AC52-06NA25396
Resource Type:
Patent
Resource Relation:
Patent File Date: 2013 Sep 30
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
37 INORGANIC, ORGANIC, PHYSICAL, AND ANALYTICAL CHEMISTRY; 36 MATERIALS SCIENCE

Citation Formats

Reilly, Sean Douglas, May, Iain, Copping, Roy, and Dale, Gregory Edward. Recovery of uranium from an irradiated solid target after removal of molybdenum-99 produced from the irradiated target. United States: N. p., 2017. Web.
Reilly, Sean Douglas, May, Iain, Copping, Roy, & Dale, Gregory Edward. Recovery of uranium from an irradiated solid target after removal of molybdenum-99 produced from the irradiated target. United States.
Reilly, Sean Douglas, May, Iain, Copping, Roy, and Dale, Gregory Edward. Tue . "Recovery of uranium from an irradiated solid target after removal of molybdenum-99 produced from the irradiated target". United States. doi:. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1399866.
@article{osti_1399866,
title = {Recovery of uranium from an irradiated solid target after removal of molybdenum-99 produced from the irradiated target},
author = {Reilly, Sean Douglas and May, Iain and Copping, Roy and Dale, Gregory Edward},
abstractNote = {A process for minimizing waste and maximizing utilization of uranium involves recovering uranium from an irradiated solid target after separating the medical isotope product, molybdenum-99, produced from the irradiated target. The process includes irradiating a solid target comprising uranium to produce fission products comprising molybdenum-99, and thereafter dissolving the target and conditioning the solution to prepare an aqueous nitric acid solution containing irradiated uranium. The acidic solution is then contacted with a solid sorbent whereby molybdenum-99 remains adsorbed to the sorbent for subsequent recovery. The uranium passes through the sorbent. The concentrations of acid and uranium are then adjusted to concentrations suitable for crystallization of uranyl nitrate hydrates. After inducing the crystallization, the uranyl nitrate hydrates are separated from a supernatant. The process results in the purification of uranyl nitrate hydrates from fission products and other contaminants. The uranium is therefore available for reuse, storage, or disposal.},
doi = {},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {Tue Oct 17 00:00:00 EDT 2017},
month = {Tue Oct 17 00:00:00 EDT 2017}
}

Patent:

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  • A novel process and an apparatus are disclosed for separating molybdenum-99 from irradiated uranium.
  • In a process for recovering molybdenum-99 from a matrix which has been irradiated with neutrons and contains fissionable materials and fission products, the matrix is decomposed in an aqueous alkali hydroxide solution and the molybdenum-99 and part of the fission products are dissolved. The solution containing the molybdenum-99 is separated from a residue of particles containing at least actinides and lanthanides and is treated with thiocyanate ions to form a molybdenum complex. In the process, the alkali solution containing molybdenum in the form of molybdenum (MoO/sub 4//sup - -/) is conditioned with an iodine reduction agent. Mineral acid is addedmore » to the alkali solution. The molybdenum contained in the acidified solution is reduced to form three-valent molybdenum Mo(III), and the Mo(III) is complexed with SCN/sup -/ ions to form (Mo(SCN)/sub 6/)/sup 3 -/ ions. The (Mo(SCN)/sub 6/)/sup 3 -/ ion containing solution is treated with a previously-conditioned, organic ion exchanger to selectively absorb the molybdenum. After absorption of the molybdenum, the ion exchanger is washed with a wash solution in order to remove residual quantities of the molybdenum free solution. The molybdenum from the washed ion exchanger is eluted with a liquor at an elution temperature in the range from about 20/sup 0/C to about 70/sup 0/C.« less
  • Molybdenum is separated from molybdenum-containing activated charcoal or char also containing small amounts of uranium obtained as a by-product in uranium leaching processes by stripping with an alkaline solution to provide a molybdenum containing solution containing substantially less than 500 ppm u/sup 3/o/sup 8/.
  • A process for the separation and collection of molybdenum-99 from an irradiated uranium-containing target material utilizes thermal chromatographic separation. The irradiated target material containing the molybdenum-99 is heated in an oxidizing atmosphere to form an oxidized target material and gaseous molybdenum-99 trioxide. The gaseous molybdenum-99 trioxide is carried by the oxidizing atmosphere along with other vaporized materials to a cooling zone for progressive condensation and collection of the molybdenum-99 trioxide and the other materials in the form of separate deposits.