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Uranium (III) precipitation in molten chloride by wet argon sparging

Abstract : In the context of pyrochemical processes for nuclear fuel treatment, the precipitation of uranium (III) in molten salt LiCl-CaCl$_2$ (30–70 mo per cent) at 705 C is studied. First, this molten chloride is characterized with the determination of the water dissociation constant. With a value of 10$^{−4.0}$, the salt has oxoacid properties. Then, the uranium (III) precipitation using wet argon sparging is studied. The salt is prepared using UCl3 precursor. At the end of the precipitation, the salt is totally free of solubilized uranium. The main part is converted into UO2 powder but some uranium is lost during the process due to the volatility of uranium chloride. The main impurity of the resulting powder is calcium. The consequences of oxidative and reductive conditions on precipitation are studied. Finally, coprecipitation of uranium (III) and neodymium (III) is studied, showing a higher sensitivity of uranium (III) than neodymium (III) to precipitation.
Keywords : Uranium argon
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Jean-François Vigier, Annabelle Laplace, Catherine Renard, Manuel Miguirditchian, Francis Abraham. Uranium (III) precipitation in molten chloride by wet argon sparging. Journal of Nuclear Materials, Elsevier, 2016, 474, pp.19-27. ⟨10.1016/j.jnucmat.2016.03.005⟩. ⟨cea-02386899⟩



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