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An Actinide Lanthanide Separation Process (ALSEP) for the separation of trivalent actinides (An(III)) from simulated raffinate solution was successfully demonstrated using a 32-stage 1 cm annular centrifugal contactor setup. The ALSEP solvent was composed of a mixture of 2-ethylhexylphosphonic acid mono-2-ethylhexyl ester (HEH[EHP]) and N,N,N′,N′-tetra-(2-ethylhexyl)-diglycolamide (T2EHDGA) in n-dodecane. Flowsheet calculations and evaluation of the results were done using the Argonne’s Model for Universal Solvent Extraction (AMUSE) code using single-stage distribution data. The co-extraction of Zr(IV) and Pd(II) was prevented using CDTA (trans-1,2-diaminocyclohexane-N,N,N′,N′-tetraacetic acid) as a masking agent in the feed. For the scrubbing of co-extracted Mo; citrate-buffered acetohydroxamic acid was used. The separation of An(III) from the trivalent lanthanides (Ln(III)) was achieved using citrate-buffered diethylene-triamine-N,N,N′,N″,N″-pentaacetic acid (DTPA), and Ln(III) were efficiently back extracted using N,N,N′,N′-tetraethyl-diglycolamide (TEDGA). A clean An(III) product was obtained with a recovery of 95% americium and curium. The Ln(III) were efficiently stripped; but the Ln(III) product contained 5% of the co-stripped An(III). The carryover of Am and Cm into the Ln(III) product is attributed to too few actinide stripping stages, which was constrained by the number of centrifugal contactors available. Improved separation would be achieved by increasing the number of An strip stages. The heavier lanthanides (Pr, Nd, Sm, Eu, and Gd) and yttrium were mainly routed to the Ln product, whereas the lighter lanthanides (La and Ce) were mostly routed to the raffinate.
Actinide separation; ALSEP; HEH[EHP]; PC88A; T2EHDGA; TEDGA; AMUSE
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Lumetta, G. J.,
Gelis, A. V.,
Law, J. D.,
Countercurrent Actinide Lanthanide Separation Process (ALSEP) Demonstration Test with a Simulated PUREX Raffinate in Centrifugal Contactors on the Laboratory Scale.
Applied Sciences, 10(20),