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Title: AFS-2 FLOWSHEET MODIFICATIONS TO ADDRESS THE INGROWTH OF PU(VI) DURING METAL DISSOLUTION

In support of the Alternate Feed Stock Two (AFS-2) PuO{sub 2} production campaign, Savannah River National Laboratory (SRNL) conducted a series of experiments concluding that dissolving Pu metal at 95°C using a 6–10 M HNO{sub 3} solution containing 0.05–0.2 M KF and 0–2 g/L B could reduce the oxidation of Pu(IV) to Pu(VI) as compared to dissolving Pu metal under the same conditions but at or near the boiling temperature. This flowsheet was demonstrated by conducting Pu metal dissolutions at 95°C to ensure that PuO{sub 2} solids were not formed during the dissolution. These dissolution parameters can be used for dissolving both Aqueous Polishing (AP) and MOX Process (MP) specification materials. Preceding the studies reported herein, two batches of Pu metal were dissolved in the H-Canyon 6.1D dissolver to prepare feed solution for the AFS-2 PuO{sub 2} production campaign. While in storage, UV-visible spectra obtained from an at-line spectrophotometer indicated the presence of Pu(VI). Analysis of the solutions also showed the presence of Fe, Ni, and Cr. Oxidation of Pu(IV) produced during metal dissolution to Pu(VI) is a concern for anion exchange purification. Anion exchange requires Pu in the +4 oxidation state for formation of the anionic plutonium(IV) hexanitrato complexmore » which absorbs onto the resin. The presence of Pu(VI) in the anion feed solution would require a valence adjustment step to prevent losses. In addition, the presence of Cr(VI) would result in absorption of chromate ion onto the resin and could limit the purification of Pu from Cr which may challenge the purity specification of the final PuO{sub 2} product. Initial experiments were performed to quantify the rate of oxidation of Pu(IV) to Pu(VI) (presumed to be facilitated by Cr(VI)) as functions of the HNO{sub 3} concentration and temperature in simulated dissolution solutions containing Cr, Fe, and Ni. In these simulated Pu dissolutions studies, lowering the temperature from near boiling to 95 °C reduced the oxidation rate of Pu(IV) to Pu(VI). For 8.1 M HNO{sub 3} simulated dissolution solutions, at near boiling conditions >35% Pu(VI) was present in 50 h while at 95 °C <10% Pu(VI) was present at 50 h. At near boiling temperatures, eliminating the presence of Cr and varying the HNO{sub 3} concentration in the range of 7–8.5 M had little effect on the rate of conversion of Pu(IV) to Pu(VI). HNO{sub 3} oxidation of Pu(IV) to Pu(VI) in a pure solution has been reported previously. Based on simulated dissolution experiments, this study concluded that dissolving Pu metal at 95°C using a 6 to 10 M HNO{sub 3} solution 0.05–0.2 M KF and 0–2 g/L B could reduce the rate of oxidation of Pu(IV) to Pu(VI) as compared to near boiling conditions. To demonstrate this flowsheet, two small-scale experiments were performed dissolving Pu metal up to 6.75 g/L. No Pu-containing residues were observed in the solutions after cooling. Using Pu metal dissolution rates measured during the experiments and a correlation developed by Holcomb, the time required to completely dissolve a batch of Pu metal in an H-Canyon dissolver using this flowsheet was estimated to require nearly 5 days (120 h). This value is reasonably consistent with an estimate based on the Batch 2 and 3 dissolution times in the 6.1D dissolver and Pu metal dissolution rates measured in this study and by Rudisill et al. Data from the present and previous studies show that the Pu metal dissolution rate decreases by a factor of approximately two when the temperature decreased from boiling (112 to 116°C) to 95°C. Therefore, the time required to dissolve a batch of Pu metal in an H-Canyon dissolver at 95°C would likely double (from 36 to 54 h) and require 72 to 108 h depending on the surface area of the Pu metal. Based on the experimental studies, a Pu metal dissolution flowsheet utilizing 6–10 M HNO{sub 3} containing 0.05–0.2 M KF (with 0–2 g/L B) at 95°C is recommended to reduce the oxidation of Pu(IV) to Pu(VI) as compared to near boiling conditions. The time required to completely dissolve a batch of Pu metal will increase, however, by approximately a factor of two as compared to initial dissolutions at near boiling (assuming the KF concentration is maintained at nominally 0.1 M). By lowering the temperature to 95°C under otherwise the same operating parameters as previous dissolutions, the Pu(VI) concentration should not exceed 15% after a 120 h heating cycle. Increasing the HNO{sub 3} concentration and lowering Pu concentration are expected to further limit the amount of Pu(VI) formed.« less
Authors:
; ; ;
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
1146962
Report Number(s):
SRNL-STI-2013-00709
DOE Contract Number:
DE-AC09-08SR22470
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
SRS
Sponsoring Org:
DOE
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
11 NUCLEAR FUEL CYCLE AND FUEL MATERIALS Plutonium Metal, H Canyon, Dissolution, Valence, Oxidation State