Date of Award

2013

Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Department

Nuclear Engineering

First Advisor

Travis W. Knight

Abstract

Surrogate oxides of the Used Nuclear Fuel (UNF) matrix were fluorinated using alternate, solid-phase fluorinating agents XeF2 and NH4HF2 to form volatile and non-volatile compounds and demonstrate the possibility of a chemical and thermal separations. A matrix of experiments was conducted at the milligram quantity scale using a Shimadzu DTG-60 TG/DTA installed at SRNL (Savannah River National Laboratory) for testing of all non-radioactive samples and a Netzsch STA 409 TGA installed in the laboratory at USC (University of South Carolina) for testing of all radioactive samples. The fluorination and subsequent volatilization potentials were analyzed by mixing excess fluorinating agent with a surrogate oxide at roughly a 2:1 ratio and then heated to elevated temperatures for analysis. Thermogravimetric and differential thermal analysis allowed for reaction pathways to be analyzed and suggest windows both thermally and chemically for separations of these various components. The differences in thermophysical properties of these products can be utilized as a starting point to effectively separate, isolate, and collect product streams with different product composition for further processing. The study of these chemistries could be incorporated into advanced separations methods to provide another possible solution for the long-term sustainability of nuclear power as the issue of reuse and disposal of commercial fuel continues to grow.

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