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Title: Process for continuous production of metallic uranium and uranium alloys

A method is described for forming metallic uranium, or a uranium alloy, from uranium oxide in a manner which substantially eliminates the formation of uranium-containing wastes. A source of uranium dioxide is first provided, for example, by reducing uranium trioxide (UO.sub.3), or any other substantially stable uranium oxide, to form the uranium dioxide (UO.sub.2). This uranium dioxide is then chlorinated to form uranium tetrachloride (UCl.sub.4), and the uranium tetrachloride is then reduced to metallic uranium by reacting the uranium chloride with a metal which will form the chloride of the metal. This last step may be carried out in the presence of another metal capable of forming one or more alloys with metallic uranium to thereby lower the melting point of the reduced uranium product. The metal chloride formed during the uranium tetrachloride reduction step may then be reduced in an electrolysis cell to recover and recycle the metal back to the uranium tetrachloride reduction operation and the chlorine gas back to the uranium dioxide chlorination operation.
 [1];  [2];  [3]
  1. (Oakridge, TN)
  2. (Livermore, CA)
  3. (Los Alamos, NM)
Issue Date:
OSTI Identifier:
United States of America as represented by United States (Washington, DC) LLNL
Patent Number(s):
US 5421855
Contract Number:
Research Org:
Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (LLNL), Livermore, CA (United States)
Country of Publication:
United States
process; continuous; production; metallic; uranium; alloys; method; described; forming; alloy; oxide; manner; substantially; eliminates; formation; uranium-containing; wastes; source; dioxide; provided; example; reducing; trioxide; uo; stable; form; chlorinated; tetrachloride; ucl; reduced; reacting; chloride; metal; step; carried; presence; capable; melting; product; formed; reduction; electrolysis; cell; recover; recycle; operation; chlorine; gas; chlorination; chloride form; uranium chloride; forming metal; form uranium; uranium dioxide; uranium oxide; uranium alloy; metal chloride; uranium alloys; continuous production; chlorine gas; metallic uranium; reduction step; substantially eliminates; stable uranium; metal capable; substantially eliminate; uranium product; containing wastes; reducing uranium; electrolysis cell; containing waste; forming metallic; metal cap; reduced uranium; /75/205/