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Americium recovery from highly active PUREX raffinate by solvent extraction: the EXam process. a review of 10 years of R&D

Abstract : In the framework of the R&D program conducted in France on partitioning and transmutation of minor actinides, a solvent extraction process was developed for separating americium from a PUREX raffinate arising from the dissolution of spent nuclear fuels in nitric acid. The so-called EXAm process uses a mixture of a malonamide (DMDOHEMA, N,N'-dimethyl-N,N'-dioctyl-hexyloxyethylmalonamide) and HDEHP (di-2-ethylhexylphosphoric acid) in organic phase in combination with a water-soluble complexing agent TEDGA (N,N,N',N'tetraethyldiglycolamide) in aqueous phase to enhance Am/Cm separation. Am/ Ln separation is then obtained by selective Am stripping with polyaminocarboxylic acids (HEDTA or DTPA) buffered by citric or malonic acid at low acidity. Started in 2008, an important R&D program was conducted at CEA to optimize and model the process. The feasibility of the direct recovery of Am from a genuine PUREX raffinate by solvent extraction was demonstrated in 2010 and reported, for the first time in the literature. R&D was then conducted to adapt the process for a future scale-up and for application from concentrated PUREX raffinates. The results of the final EXAm process performed on a highly active PUREX concentrate are presented after a summary of 10 years of R&D on this process development.
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Submitted on : Monday, January 24, 2022 - 2:19:54 PM
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Manuel Miguirditchian, Vincent Vanel, Cécile Marie, Vincent Pacary, Marie-Christine Charbonnel, et al.. Americium recovery from highly active PUREX raffinate by solvent extraction: the EXam process. a review of 10 years of R&D. Solvent Extraction and Ion Exchange, Taylor & Francis, 2020, 38 (4), pp.365-387. ⟨10.1080/07366299.2020.1753922⟩. ⟨cea-03541148⟩

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