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Report No.
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Electrochemical recovery of Zr and Cd from molten chloride salts for reprocessing of used nitride fuels

Murakami, Tsuyoshi*; Hayashi, Hirokazu 

Excess amounts of dissolution agents, CdCl$$_2$$ and ZrCl$$_4$$, are required to dissolve transuranium (TRU: Pu and minor actinides) nitrides into LiCl-KCl melts at the chemical dissolution step, which is the first step in the reprocessing of used nitride fuels. We propose an electrochemical process where the remaining Zr and Cd are recovered from the melts to be recycled as dissolution agents for the chemical dissolution step, leaving TRU in the melts. Since the initial concentration ratio of CdCl$$_2$$/ZrCl$$_4$$ remaining in the melts would depend on the condition of the chemical dissolution step and would vary during the proposed electrochemical recovery process, electrochemical behaviors of Zr and Cd were investigated in LiCl-KCl melts with various concentration ratios of CdCl$$_2$$/ZrCl$$_4$$ at 723 K to confirm the basic feasibility of the proposed process. Potentiostatic electrolysis was performed using a liquid Cd cathode at -1.05 V (vs. Ag/AgCl), which was a more positive potential than the redox potentials of TRU on the liquid Cd electrode. The obtained results showed that the current efficiency for recovering Zr and Cd from the melts was as high as 100% regardless of the CdCl$$_2$$/ZrCl$$_4$$ concentration ratio in the melts.

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