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Mathematical modelling of intensified extraction for spent nuclear fuel reprocessing

Bascone, D; Angeli, P; Fraga, ES; (2018) Mathematical modelling of intensified extraction for spent nuclear fuel reprocessing. Nuclear Engineering and Design , 332 pp. 162-172. 10.1016/j.nucengdes.2018.03.030. (In press). Green open access

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Small scale extractors seem to be a promising intensified alternative to the conventional solvent extraction technologies, because of the well described hydrodynamics, enhanced mass transfer, and good phase separation at the end. One of the most interesting applications of intensified extractions is the reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel. Operating in small channels can reduce the volumes of involved hazardous materials and the residence times, thus minimising the degradation of the solvent and its regeneration cost. Finally, nuclear criticality safety may be easily achieved. In this paper, the application of small channels on spent nuclear fuel reprocessing has been investigated. A mathematical model of a multi-component liquid-liquid extraction has been developed. The multi-component system consists of U, Pu, HNO 3 , HNO 2 , Zr, Ru, Tc, Np(IV), Np(V) and Np(VI), the organic solvent is a mixture of 30% (v/v) Tri-Butyl Phosphate (TBP) and a paraffinic diluent. A segmented flow pattern, with the aqueous phase dispersed in a continuous organic phase, has been assumed. Calculations for the estimation of mass transfer, redox reactions, pressure drop, nuclear criticality and TBP hydrolysis have been included in the model. To increase the flow rates, the number of small channels was increased (scale out) and a comb-like manifold was considered to ensure good flow distribution in each channel. The problem is formulated as a mixed integer nonlinear programming problem and is implemented in the General Algebraic Modeling System (GAMS). The results show that this alternative technology for liquid-liquid extraction offers advantages, especially in terms of solvent degradation and low holdup volume.

Type: Article
Title: Mathematical modelling of intensified extraction for spent nuclear fuel reprocessing
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.nucengdes.2018.03.030
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.nucengdes.2018.03.030
Language: English
Additional information: © 2018 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/BY/4.0/)
Keywords: Liquid-liquid extraction, Small channels, Spent nuclear fuel reprocessing, Optimisation, Process design
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10046738
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