Solid Phase Extraction Materials for Separations of Trivalent Actinides and Fission Products

Jennifer Shusterman, University of California, Berkeley

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The goal of this work is to develop radiochemical separations procedures aimed at isolating the minor actinides Am and Cm from each other and from the lanthanide fission products. Separations of the minor actinides and fission products present in spent nuclear fuel and legacy defense waste would allow for improved treatment for long-term storage and, in turn, better stewardship of these materials. The majority of current radiochemical separations procedures for actinides are based on liquid-liquid systems, which tend to exhibit slow kinetics and produce large volumes of hazardous waste. In this work, I am focused on solid-liquid extraction systems, which produce less waste and can have faster kinetics. I am using extraction ligands that have been chemically bound to high surface-area mesoporous silica supports. Past work has shown that extraction chromatography materials can exhibit instability due to the ligands being coated on the solid support as opposed to chemically bound. Resistance to acid hydrolysis of the new chemically bound materials is currently being examined to demonstrate improved stability relative to previously studied extraction chromatography resins. My initial ligand of interest contains a carbamoylacetamide binding site which has a similar structure to malonamides used for trivalent actinide and lanthanide complexation. Initial studies are in progress using Eu(III) as a model lanthanide fission product, and future work will include complexation with Am(III) and Cm(III). Preliminary results of these studies will be presented.

Abstract Author(s): Jennifer Shusterman, Anthony Bruchet, and Heino Nitsche