Separation of Americium in High Oxidation States from Curium Utilizing Sodium Bismuthate

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A simple separation of americium from curium would support closure of the nuclear fuel cycle, assist in nuclear forensic analysis, and allow for more accurate measurement of neutron capture properties of 241Am. Methods for the separation of americium from curium are however complicated and time-consuming due to the similar chemical properties of these elements. In this work a novel method for the separation of americium from curium in nitric acid media was developed using sodium bismuthate to perform both the oxidation and separation. Sodium bismuthate is shown to be a promising material for performing a simple and rapid separation. Curium is more strongly retained than americium on the undissolved sodium bismuthate at nitric acid concentrations below 1.0 M. A separation factor of ∼90 was obtained in 0.1 M nitric acid. This separation factor is achieved within the first minute of contact and is maintained for at least 2 h of contact. Separations using sodium bismuthate were performed using solid-liquid extraction as well as column chromatography. © 2016 American Chemical Society.