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Separation of Np from U and Pu using a salt-free reductant for Np(VI) by continuous counter-current back-extraction

Ban, Yasutoshi; Asakura, Toshihide; Morita, Yasuji

An idea for controlling Np behavior in the Purex process is that Np(VI) extracted by TBP is selectively reduced to Np(V) by salt-free reagents and separated from U and Pu. Allylhydrazine is expected as a selective Np(VI) reductant from a view point of reduction rates for Np(VI) and Pu(IV). To confirm the applicability of allylhydrazine, a continuous counter-current back-extraction test of Np(VI) has been carried out using a miniature mixer-settler that consists of two steps: U-Pu recovery (3 stages) and Np separation (4 stages). Experimental results show that at least 90% of Np in feed are back-extracted and separated from U and Pu, therefore, it is confirmed that allylhydrazine is expected to be a selective salt-free reductant of Np(VI).

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