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The Applicability of Distillation as an Alternative Nuclear Reprocessing Method

Authors: Dominik Böhm, Konrad Czerski


A customized two-stage model has been developed to simulate, analyse, and visualize distillation of actinides as a useful alternative low-pressure separation method in the nuclear recycling cases. Under the most optimal conditions of idealized thermodynamic equilibrium stages and under total reflux of distillate the investigated cases of chloride systems for the separation of such actinides are (A) UCl4-CsCl-PuCl3 and (B) ThCl4-NaCl-PuCl3. Simulatively, uranium tetrachloride in case A is successfully separated by distillation into a six-stage distillation column, and thorium tetrachloride from case B into an eight-stage distillation column. For this, a permissible mole fraction value of 1E-06 has been assumed for the residual impurification degree. With further separation effort of eleven to seventeen required separation stages, the monochlorides of plutonium trichloride from both systems A and B are simulatively shown to be separated as high pure distillation products.

Keywords: Conceptual design of a pyroprocessing unit, molten salt recovery, simulation of total-reflux distillation column, used nuclear fuel reprocessing.

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