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Title: Application of a Triple Bubbler Sensor for Determining the Density, Surface Tension, and Depth in Molten Salts

Abstract

Electrochemical (i.e. pyroprocessing) technology is being widely studied throughout the world as a potential alternative to aqueous reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel (SNF). Central to this process is the electrorefiner (ER), in which the useful uranium in the SNF is electrochemically transported through a molten salt electrolyte to a cathode for later recovery. As part of this process, uranium, plutonium, and other actinides accumulate in the ER salt over time. Material accountancy and safeguards of these special nuclear material buildups in near real-time is a significant challenge due to the elevated processing temperatures, remote operation within a hotcell, and high radiation fields. Analytical techniques outside of the hotcell can be used to provide the SNM concentrations of salt samples from the ER. However, determining the actual mass of these materials in the ER presents a significant challenge because the density and volume within the vessel is largely unknown. The Idaho National Laboratory (INL) has developed a triple bubbler sensor capable of determining the density, surface tension, and depth of a fluid in near real-time. Previous experiments in aqueous media has shown that the sensor is capable of determining the density, surface tension and depth with accuracies on the order ofmore » 0.2%. The goal of this current work is to test the sensor in several molten salt media to calibrate and validate the triple bubbler. Experiments have been performed in LiCl-KCl eutectic salt. Calibration factors were 1.0015 and 1.26 for density and surface tension, respectively. With the above calibration factors applied, the depth of the salt in the test vessel was determined to within 0.4%. These results indicate that the triple bubbler sensor has the potential to accurately (less than 1% uncertainty) determine the density, surface, tension, and depth of the ER salt in near real-time. The triple bubbler sensor designed at INL can significantly enhance the material accountancy, safeguards, and process monitoring of the electrochemical processing of SNF.« less

Authors:
ORCiD logo [1];  [2]; ORCiD logo [1]; ORCiD logo [1]
  1. Idaho National Laboratory
  2. University of Idaho
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Idaho National Lab. (INL), Idaho Falls, ID (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Nuclear Energy (NE)
OSTI Identifier:
1478388
Report Number(s):
INL/CON-18-44636-Rev000
DOE Contract Number:  
AC07-05ID14517
Resource Type:
Conference
Resource Relation:
Conference: Institute of Nuclear Material Management PNNL workshop, Richland Washington, 05/01/2018 - 05/02/2018
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
98 - NUCLEAR DISARMAMENT, SAFEGUARDS, AND PHYSICAL PROTECTION; Bubbler; Safeguards; Pyroprocessing

Citation Formats

Williams, Ammon N., Shigrekar, Amey, Galbreth, Greg, and Sanders, Jeff. Application of a Triple Bubbler Sensor for Determining the Density, Surface Tension, and Depth in Molten Salts. United States: N. p., 2018. Web.
Williams, Ammon N., Shigrekar, Amey, Galbreth, Greg, & Sanders, Jeff. Application of a Triple Bubbler Sensor for Determining the Density, Surface Tension, and Depth in Molten Salts. United States.
Williams, Ammon N., Shigrekar, Amey, Galbreth, Greg, and Sanders, Jeff. Tue . "Application of a Triple Bubbler Sensor for Determining the Density, Surface Tension, and Depth in Molten Salts". United States. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1478388.
@article{osti_1478388,
title = {Application of a Triple Bubbler Sensor for Determining the Density, Surface Tension, and Depth in Molten Salts},
author = {Williams, Ammon N. and Shigrekar, Amey and Galbreth, Greg and Sanders, Jeff},
abstractNote = {Electrochemical (i.e. pyroprocessing) technology is being widely studied throughout the world as a potential alternative to aqueous reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel (SNF). Central to this process is the electrorefiner (ER), in which the useful uranium in the SNF is electrochemically transported through a molten salt electrolyte to a cathode for later recovery. As part of this process, uranium, plutonium, and other actinides accumulate in the ER salt over time. Material accountancy and safeguards of these special nuclear material buildups in near real-time is a significant challenge due to the elevated processing temperatures, remote operation within a hotcell, and high radiation fields. Analytical techniques outside of the hotcell can be used to provide the SNM concentrations of salt samples from the ER. However, determining the actual mass of these materials in the ER presents a significant challenge because the density and volume within the vessel is largely unknown. The Idaho National Laboratory (INL) has developed a triple bubbler sensor capable of determining the density, surface tension, and depth of a fluid in near real-time. Previous experiments in aqueous media has shown that the sensor is capable of determining the density, surface tension and depth with accuracies on the order of 0.2%. The goal of this current work is to test the sensor in several molten salt media to calibrate and validate the triple bubbler. Experiments have been performed in LiCl-KCl eutectic salt. Calibration factors were 1.0015 and 1.26 for density and surface tension, respectively. With the above calibration factors applied, the depth of the salt in the test vessel was determined to within 0.4%. These results indicate that the triple bubbler sensor has the potential to accurately (less than 1% uncertainty) determine the density, surface, tension, and depth of the ER salt in near real-time. The triple bubbler sensor designed at INL can significantly enhance the material accountancy, safeguards, and process monitoring of the electrochemical processing of SNF.},
doi = {},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {2018},
month = {5}
}

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