French process to extract uranium from reactor ash

Areva and the University of Idaho have signed an agreement to develop technology for recovering uranium from incinerator ash at Areva’s uranium fuel plant in Richland, Washington state. The process also reduces the amount of ash classified as radioactive waste.

Chien Wai, a chemistry professor at the University of Idaho, has developed a process that uses supercritical fluids to dissolve toxic metals. When this process is coupled with a purifying process developed in partnership with Sydney Koegler, an engineer with Areva and former student at the University of Idaho, enriched uranium can be recovered from the ashes of contaminated materials.

A supercritical fluid – in this case carbon dioxide (CO2) – is any substance raised to a temperature and pressure at which it exhibits properties of both a gas and a liquid. When supercritical, the substance can move directly into a solid like a gas, yet dissolve compounds like a liquid. CO2 reaches its supercritical state at a pressure of about 6.9 MPa and a temperature of 31°C. When the fluid’s pressure is returned to normal, it becomes a gas and evaporates, leaving behind only the extracted compounds. Wai commented that supercritical CO2 has been used for decades to remove caffeine from whole coffee beans.

Areva plans to apply the process to recover uranium from 32 tonnes of ash at its Richland nuclear fuel plant. In addition to the recovery of two tonnes of uranium, the radiotoxicity of the post-process ash is reduced, thereby allowing some to be reclassified as other than low-level waste (LLW).

Construction of the ash-uranium recovery plant will begin in 2008 and should be operational in 2009. It will take about one year to process the 32 tonnes of ash at Richland, after which the plant could process ash from other LLW generators in the nuclear energy and nuclear medicine industries.

LLW from a nuclear plant







Waste typeWaste volume (cubic metres)
     Reprocessing
Once-through
LLW15,15220,060
ILW3611
HLW540

In other nuclear news, Canada is extending the operating life of the Gentilly 2 nuclear reactor until 2040

FURTHER READING
Other methods of handling low level waste

A large nuclear power plant that generates electricity for a half million people produces approximately 25 tons of spent fuel annually. An equivalent coal plant produces 10 million tons annually of air pollutants, potentially hazardous ash, and other wastes.

Nuclear waste discussed at Berkeley

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French process to extract uranium from reactor ash

Areva and the University of Idaho have signed an agreement to develop technology for recovering uranium from incinerator ash at Areva’s uranium fuel plant in Richland, Washington state. The process also reduces the amount of ash classified as radioactive waste.

Chien Wai, a chemistry professor at the University of Idaho, has developed a process that uses supercritical fluids to dissolve toxic metals. When this process is coupled with a purifying process developed in partnership with Sydney Koegler, an engineer with Areva and former student at the University of Idaho, enriched uranium can be recovered from the ashes of contaminated materials.

A supercritical fluid – in this case carbon dioxide (CO2) – is any substance raised to a temperature and pressure at which it exhibits properties of both a gas and a liquid. When supercritical, the substance can move directly into a solid like a gas, yet dissolve compounds like a liquid. CO2 reaches its supercritical state at a pressure of about 6.9 MPa and a temperature of 31°C. When the fluid’s pressure is returned to normal, it becomes a gas and evaporates, leaving behind only the extracted compounds. Wai commented that supercritical CO2 has been used for decades to remove caffeine from whole coffee beans.

Areva plans to apply the process to recover uranium from 32 tonnes of ash at its Richland nuclear fuel plant. In addition to the recovery of two tonnes of uranium, the radiotoxicity of the post-process ash is reduced, thereby allowing some to be reclassified as other than low-level waste (LLW).

Construction of the ash-uranium recovery plant will begin in 2008 and should be operational in 2009. It will take about one year to process the 32 tonnes of ash at Richland, after which the plant could process ash from other LLW generators in the nuclear energy and nuclear medicine industries.

LLW from a nuclear plant







Waste typeWaste volume (cubic metres)
     Reprocessing
Once-through
LLW15,15220,060
ILW3611
HLW540

In other nuclear news, Canada is extending the operating life of the Gentilly 2 nuclear reactor until 2040

FURTHER READING
Other methods of handling low level waste

A large nuclear power plant that generates electricity for a half million people produces approximately 25 tons of spent fuel annually. An equivalent coal plant produces 10 million tons annually of air pollutants, potentially hazardous ash, and other wastes.

Nuclear waste discussed at Berkeley

About The Author

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1

How about the long term effects...its indeed tough to believe such a wonder working drug can come into existence without any side affects...then it ll be a revolution in the field of medicine and boon for the health concious people!!!

2

I believe the dog is just a naturally occuring animal that happens to have the genes already set for extra muscle. That entire breed of dog may have those genes set. I do not think the dogs or the mice or the people with the genes set live any shorter lives.

This drug is copying/mimicking the effect of the genes so it also should not effect life span.

There are some people and animals that are naturally more muscular.

In the previous studies on the genes being set, the aging of muscles was actually stopped. This did not increase life expectancy but there would be less of the problems of someone old suffering serious reduction in muscle.

http://www.hno.harvard.edu/gazette/1999/02.11/muscle.html

results of experiments with adult mice who received injections of the gene into their muscles. The inoculations prevented muscle deterioration in mice as old as 2 years -- 80 years in human terms. The shots even regenerated muscle, restoring some of the lost strength and size.

Old mice regained 27 percent of muscle lost to age; younger mice experienced a 15 percent increase, Sweeney reported. "You build muscle mass and strength even without exercise," he says.

3

Interesting how much this dog will live?

4

I wouldn't mind having some extra muscle just to look and feel better. Is it a crime to want to be really healthy?

5

Hmm - maybe a treatment for heart attack victims? THAT'D be nice.

6

I can't wait for the public outrage about a drug that enhances physical health and appearance, even though there doesn't appear to be any side effects.