Extraction of Long-Lived Radionuclides from Nitric Acid Solutions Using an Extractant Based on Dibutyl Hydrogen Phosphate and Chlorinated Cobalt Dicarbollide

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Abstract

Chlorinated cobalt dicarbollide (CCD), when added to concentrations of 0.25 M to a solution of dibutyl hydrogen phosphate (HDBP) in m-nitrobenzotrifluoride (MNBTF), increases the distribution ratios of trace amounts of Eu and Am without changing the slope (tan α ∼ 2) of their dependences on HDBP concentration in the 0–1.5 M range. At [CCD]/([CCD] + DBPA]) = 0.2–0.22, the synergistic effect is observed in the entire range of HDBP concentrations in extraction of these elements from 1.0 and 2.5 M HNO3. In this case, HDBP suppresses the extraction of Cs with CCD in the area below the synergistic maximum, where antagonism is observed in the extraction of Cs. Polyethylene glycol (PEG, Slovafol-909) was added to the extraction mixture to improve the extraction of Sr. The extremum is attained at its concentration in the solvent with HDBP of ∼0.033–0.065 M, which is smaller than that in the absence of HDBP by a factor of 1.5–2.5. With increasing concentration of HDBP in the HDBP-CCD-PEG-MNBTF extraction system, the slopes for Eu and Am are 1.3 and 0.6, whereas the slopes for Cs and Sr decrease nonlinearly and amount to −1.8 and −1.3, respectively. With increasing concentration of HNO3, D for Eu, Am, and Cm decreases in proportion to the HNO3 concentration to the power of −3 irrespective of the PEG concentration, and for Cs and Sr, to the power of −2 in the presence of PEG, whereas in the PEG-free systems the dependences are nonlinear. The synergistic extractant is characterized by higher (by an order of magnitude) solubility of metal solvates as compared to the HDBP-MNBTF system (concentration of Eu in the extractant >0.163 M). The extractant containing HDBP (1.1 M), CCD (0.23 M), and Slovafol-90 (0.065 M) in MNBTF is suggested for combined recovery of rareearth (REE) and transplutonium elements (TPE) and of Cs and Sr from high-level waste (HLW) after reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel (SNF) with high burn-up.

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