Physico chemical properties of irradiated i-SANEX diluents


The development of effective processes to recover minor actinides from spent nuclear fuel cannot leave out of consideration the evaluation of the impact of ionizing radiations on safety, fluid dynamics and extraction efficiency. It is common knowledge from the literature that radiation damage mainly affects the diluents and, indirectly, the extractants [1], but a lack of knowledge remains regarding the radiolytic behavior of innovative selective actinide extraction (i-SANEX) diluents [2, 3]. As natural prosecution of the work already performed on diluted nitric acid solutions [4], 0.44 M nitric acid solutions were irradiated in contact with a mixture of kerosene + 5 vol.% 1-octanol by a Co-60 source at 2.5 kGy/h dose rate and up to 100 kGy absorbed dose, conditions of interest for the future industrial facility. Density, viscosity, acidity, nitrate anion concentration and phase transfers were systematically measured before and after γ-irradiation. This was performed because radiation-induced modifications of these parameters may induce alterations of both the fluid dynamics and the separation performances of the extracting system. The results suggest that the fluid-dynamics of the system should be unaltered. In fact, only slight alterations of the organic phase viscosity and of the aqueous phase acidity were measured after irradiation, suggesting the occurrence of limited phase transfers and of diluent by-products formation.

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