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Title: Magnetic separation as a plutonium residue enrichment process

Abstract

We have subjected several plutonium contaminated residues to Open Gradient Magnetic Separation (OGMS) on an experimental scale. Separation of graphite, bomb reduction sand, and bomb reduction sand, and bomb reduction sand, slag, and crucible, resulted in a plutonium rich fraction and a plutonium lean fraction. The lean fraction varied between about 20% to 85% of the feed bulk. The plutonium content of the lean fraction can be reduced from about 2% in the feed to the 0.1% to 0.5% range dependent on the portion of the feed rejected to this lean fraction. These values are low enough in plutonium to meet economic discard limits and be considered for direct discard. Magnetic separation of direct oxide reduction and electrorefining pyrochemical salts gave less favorable results. While a fraction very rich in plutonium could be obtained, the plutonium content of the lean fraction was to high for direct discard. This may still have chemical processing applications. OGMS experiments at low magnetic field strength on incinerator ash did give two fractions but the plutonium content of each fraction was essentially identical. Thus, no chemical processing advantage was identified for magnetic separation of this residue. The detailed results of these experiments and the implicationsmore » for OGMS use in recycle plutonium processing are discussed. 4 refs., 3 figs., 9 tabs.« less

Authors:
; ;
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Los Alamos National Lab., NM (USA)
Sponsoring Org.:
DOE/DP
OSTI Identifier:
5453395
Report Number(s):
LA-UR-89-3410; CONF-891013-6
ON: DE90002384
DOE Contract Number:
W-7405-ENG-36
Resource Type:
Conference
Resource Relation:
Conference: 6. symposium on separation science and technology for energy applications, Knoxville, TN (USA), 22-27 Oct 1989
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
12 MANAGEMENT OF RADIOACTIVE AND NON-RADIOACTIVE WASTES FROM NUCLEAR FACILITIES; PLUTONIUM; SEPARATION PROCESSES; ASHES; ELECTROREFINING; ENRICHMENT; GRAPHITE; MAGNETIC SUSCEPTIBILITY; OXIDES; RESIDUES; SALTS; SAND; ACTINIDES; CARBON; CHALCOGENIDES; ELECTROLYSIS; ELEMENTAL MINERALS; ELEMENTS; LYSIS; MAGNETIC PROPERTIES; METALS; MINERALS; NONMETALS; OXYGEN COMPOUNDS; PHYSICAL PROPERTIES; PROCESSING; REFINING; TRANSURANIUM ELEMENTS; 052001* - Nuclear Fuels- Waste Processing

Citation Formats

Avens, L.R., McFarlan, J.T., and Gallegos, U.F. Magnetic separation as a plutonium residue enrichment process. United States: N. p., 1989. Web.
Avens, L.R., McFarlan, J.T., & Gallegos, U.F. Magnetic separation as a plutonium residue enrichment process. United States.
Avens, L.R., McFarlan, J.T., and Gallegos, U.F. 1989. "Magnetic separation as a plutonium residue enrichment process". United States. doi:. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/5453395.
@article{osti_5453395,
title = {Magnetic separation as a plutonium residue enrichment process},
author = {Avens, L.R. and McFarlan, J.T. and Gallegos, U.F.},
abstractNote = {We have subjected several plutonium contaminated residues to Open Gradient Magnetic Separation (OGMS) on an experimental scale. Separation of graphite, bomb reduction sand, and bomb reduction sand, and bomb reduction sand, slag, and crucible, resulted in a plutonium rich fraction and a plutonium lean fraction. The lean fraction varied between about 20% to 85% of the feed bulk. The plutonium content of the lean fraction can be reduced from about 2% in the feed to the 0.1% to 0.5% range dependent on the portion of the feed rejected to this lean fraction. These values are low enough in plutonium to meet economic discard limits and be considered for direct discard. Magnetic separation of direct oxide reduction and electrorefining pyrochemical salts gave less favorable results. While a fraction very rich in plutonium could be obtained, the plutonium content of the lean fraction was to high for direct discard. This may still have chemical processing applications. OGMS experiments at low magnetic field strength on incinerator ash did give two fractions but the plutonium content of each fraction was essentially identical. Thus, no chemical processing advantage was identified for magnetic separation of this residue. The detailed results of these experiments and the implications for OGMS use in recycle plutonium processing are discussed. 4 refs., 3 figs., 9 tabs.},
doi = {},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = 1989,
month = 1
}

Conference:
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  • Plutonium scrap and residue represent major national and international concerns because (1) significant environmental, safety, and health (ES&H) problems have been identified with their storage; (2) all plutonium recovered from the black market in Europe has been from this category; (3) storage costs are high; and (4) safeguards are difficult. It is proposed to address these problems by conversion of plutonium scrap and residue to a CRACHIP (CRiticality, Aerosol, and CHemically Inert Plutonium) glass using the Glass Material Oxidation and Dissolution System (GMODS). CRACHIP refers to a set of requirements for plutonium storage forms that minimize ES&H concerns. The conceptmore » is several decades old. Conversion of plutonium from complex chemical mixtures and variable geometries into a certified, qualified, homogeneous CRACHIP glass creates a stable chemical form that minimizes ES&H risks, simplifies safeguards and security, provides an easy-to-store form, decreases storage costs, and allows for future disposition options. GMODS is a new process to directly convert metals, ceramics, and amorphous solids to glass; oxidize organics with the residue converted to glass; and convert chlorides to borosilicate glass and a secondary sodium chloride stream. Laboratory work has demonstrated the conversion of cerium (a plutonium surrogate), uranium (a plutonium surrogate), Zircaloy, stainless steel, and other materials to glass. GMODS is an enabling technology that creates new options. Conventional glassmaking processes require conversion of feeds to oxide-like forms before final conversion to glass. Such chemical conversion and separation processes are often complex and expensive.« less
  • A recent study completed for the Rocky Flats Environmental Technology Site proved that it is feasible to use modular, skid-mounted processes for disposition of Category 1 quantities of nuclear materials. This would allow personnel to assemble, test, and authorize the processes outside of the nuclear material management area. Besides having cost and schedule advantages, this technology reduces the uncertainty and risk in applications involving disposition of materials and facilities. This paper explains the previous research into modular skid-mounted processes and suggests various future applications of the technology.
  • The pressing need for enriched uranium to fuel nuclear power reactors, requiring that as many as ten large uranium isotope separation plants be built during the next twenty years, has inspired an increase of interest in isotope separation processes for uranium enrichment. Aerodynamic isotope separation processes have been prominently mentioned along with the gas centrifuge process and the laser isotope separation methods as alternatives to the gaseous diffusion process, currently in use, for these future plants. Commonly included in the category of aerodynamic isotope separation processes are: (a) the separation nozzle process; (b) opposed gas jets; (c) the gas vortex;more » (d) the separation probes; (e) interacting molecular beams; (f) jet penetration processes; and (g) time of flight separation processes. A number of these aerodynamic isotope separation processes depend, as does the gas centrifuge process, on pressure diffusion associated with curved streamlines for the basic separation effect. Much can be deduced about the process characteristics and the economic potential of such processes from a simple and elementary process model. In particular, the benefit to be gained from a light carrier gas added to the uranium feed is clearly demonstrated. The model also illustrates the importance of transient effects in this class of processes.« less