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Triblock Polymer System Designed with High Selectivity for Trivalent Actinides in Nuclear Waste


Triblock polymer system designed with high selectivity for trivalent actinides in nuclear waste

Triblock polymer system designed with high selectivity for trivalent actinides in nuclear waste

Lauren E. Avery, Brad J. Holliday
Holliday Research Group
Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
The University of Texas at Austin

Spent fuel from nuclear reactors contains several radioactive isotopes with long lived half lives. With the advent of fast spectrum reactors many of these long lived products can be transmuted into shorter lived radioisotopes, creating more energy and less high level waste. The problem lies in the fact that the lanthanides and other fission products absorb neutrons in a reactor, quenching the reaction. Thus these products must be separated. Current liquid – liquid extraction techniques create large volumes of liquid waste and do not adequately discriminate between the actinides and lanthanides. A triblock polymer membrane is being developed to more efficiently separate these species. ICPMS is being utilized to determine the efficiency of metal extraction by the polymer system.


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