Title: Electroseparation of Actinides from Lanthanides on Solid Aluminum Electrode in LiCl-KCl Eutectic Melts
Citation: JOURNAL OF THE ELECTROCHEMICAL SOCIETY vol. 153 no. 3 p. C167-C172
Publication Year: 2005
JRC N°: JRC30460
URI: http://publications.jrc.ec.europa.eu/repository/handle/JRC30460
Type: Articles in periodicals and books
Abstract: This work presents a study on Ibe electrochemical behavior of actinides (An = Am and Pu) and lanthanides (Ln = La and Nd) onto solid aluminum cathodes in a molten LiCI-KCl eutectic at 733 K. Cyclic voltammetiy of these elements onto A! woridog electrode is carried out to estimate the reduction potentials of An and Ln and to predict the efficiency of an An:Ln separation by eleclrolysis. Results show that the reduction of Am3 1, Pu3, LaJ, and Nd3 ions leads to the formation of An-Al or Ln-Al surface alloys. Moreover, the difference in reduction potentials between An and Ln elements was found to be larger than on the classical molten cadmium or bismuth electrodes. Pu:Nd and Am:Nd electroseparauons were carried out using Al foam as cathode and a plutonium rod as anode. Efficient and feradaic reduction of actinides was achieved at a cathodic potential preventing Nd coreduction. After electrolysis, a compact and adherent deposit covered the cathode surface, and scanning electron microscopy, energy-dispersive X-ray analysis of the deposit indicated the existence of Ai-Pu or mixed Am-Pu-Al alloys. Analysis of the dissolved Al cathodes, after electrolytic separation of Am from Nd, showed that 536 mg of An (94 of the total Am present in the initial salt phase) had been deposited compared to less than 3 mg Nd. This work represents a breakthrough in the selective partitioning of An by electrorefming methods.
JRC Directorate:Nuclear Safety and Security

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