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Title: Uranium dioxide electrolysis

Abstract

This is a single stage process for treating spent nuclear fuel from light water reactors. The spent nuclear fuel, uranium oxide, UO.sub.2, is added to a solution of UCl.sub.4 dissolved in molten LiCl. A carbon anode and a metallic cathode is positioned in the molten salt bath. A power source is connected to the electrodes and a voltage greater than or equal to 1.3 volts is applied to the bath. At the anode, the carbon is oxidized to form carbon dioxide and uranium chloride. At the cathode, uranium is electroplated. The uranium chloride at the cathode reacts with more uranium oxide to continue the reaction. The process may also be used with other transuranic oxides and rare earth metal oxides.

Inventors:
 [1];  [2];  [3]
  1. Batavia, IL
  2. Prescott, AZ
  3. Naperville, IL
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Argonne National Laboratory (ANL), Argonne, IL
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE
OSTI Identifier:
970597
Patent Number(s):
7,638,026
Application Number:
11/215,202
Assignee:
The United States of America as represented by the United States Department of Energy (Washington, DC) CHO
DOE Contract Number:
W-31109-ENG-38
Resource Type:
Patent
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
12 MANAGEMENT OF RADIOACTIVE AND NON-RADIOACTIVE WASTES FROM NUCLEAR FACILITIES

Citation Formats

Willit, James L, Ackerman, John P, and Williamson, Mark A. Uranium dioxide electrolysis. United States: N. p., 2009. Web.
Willit, James L, Ackerman, John P, & Williamson, Mark A. Uranium dioxide electrolysis. United States.
Willit, James L, Ackerman, John P, and Williamson, Mark A. Tue . "Uranium dioxide electrolysis". United States. doi:. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/970597.
@article{osti_970597,
title = {Uranium dioxide electrolysis},
author = {Willit, James L and Ackerman, John P and Williamson, Mark A},
abstractNote = {This is a single stage process for treating spent nuclear fuel from light water reactors. The spent nuclear fuel, uranium oxide, UO.sub.2, is added to a solution of UCl.sub.4 dissolved in molten LiCl. A carbon anode and a metallic cathode is positioned in the molten salt bath. A power source is connected to the electrodes and a voltage greater than or equal to 1.3 volts is applied to the bath. At the anode, the carbon is oxidized to form carbon dioxide and uranium chloride. At the cathode, uranium is electroplated. The uranium chloride at the cathode reacts with more uranium oxide to continue the reaction. The process may also be used with other transuranic oxides and rare earth metal oxides.},
doi = {},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {Tue Dec 29 00:00:00 EST 2009},
month = {Tue Dec 29 00:00:00 EST 2009}
}

Patent:

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  • A process for fused salt electrolysis of UCl/sub 4/ to produce U is described which avoids disadvantages of similar processes by maintaining UCl/sub 4/ concentration above 10%. In one example the bath contained 1300 g UCl/sub 4/, 830 g KCl, 130 g NaCl, and 640 g LiCl. A graphite anode and Mo-wire cathode and a pyrex vessel were used. The electrolytic current was 20 amps, the voltuge 6 to 9 for 322.5 amp-hr at 450 plus or minus 20 deg C. In the example 575 g of very pure U was obtained at a current efficiency of 81%. (T.R.H.)
  • Particles of electrically conducting activated carbon of about 500 to 1,000 m2/g specific surface added to an electrol provided by a solution of sulfur dioxide in water are found to provide a substantial reduction of the electrical energy requirement in the electrolysis of such an electrolyte for the production of hydrogen and sulfuric acid. A further reduction of energy consumption is obtained by additionally introducing iodine in the electrolyte in an amount not exceeding 1% by weight of the entire solution. Use of an anode in which the surface of a graphite base body is coated with a thin layermore » of activated carbon bonded to the graphite body by means of a binder, such as rubber, also reduces the electrical energy requirement for the electrolysis. To coat the surface of the electrode, carbon particles are first dispersed in a rubber solution and the suspension is then applied to the surface of the graphite body as a thin layer.« less
  • A method of extracting uranium oxide from a solution of one or more uranium compounds, e.g. leach liquors, comprising subjecting the solution to electrolysis utilizing a high current density, e.g., 500 to 4000 amp/m/sub 2/, whereby uranium oxide is formed at the cathode which is recovered. The method is particularly suited to a continuous process using a rotating cathode cell.