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  • Feasibility study on the use of hydrated antimony pentoxide for the retreatment of the combustible solution of the CESNEF nuclear reactor (Milan Polytechnic)


Many nuclear reactors used for research are of the homogeneous type, which use enriched uranium solutions, particularly uranyl sulphate, as a fuel. Most of these reactors are no longer operational, and their irradiated combustible material has been transferred to retreatment plants. In countries without retreatment plants, the transport of such solutions becomes a serious problem. One solution would be to store the material in concrete blocks until final disposal. An accurate analysis of this proposal reveals many problems : loss of fissile material content, limitation of the quantities to be stored in concrete blocks, safety factors, high costs. These considerations led to a feasibility study on the use of inorganic ion exchangers to remove fission products and plutonium with a high decontamination factor from the combustible solution of the CESNEF L54 reactor, without excessive loss of uranium. After some exploratory tests, hydrated antimony pentoxide was selected. The proposed method is to put the batch of hydrated antimony pentoxide in contact with the CESNEF combustible solution or to percolate the said solution in a column, and then to add the hydrated antimony pentoxide - which has stabilised the fission products and the plutonium - in appropriate concrete blocks. This will give safer and more efficient stabilisation of radioactive waste.

Additional information

Authors: FACCHINI A, Politechnico di Milano (IT);GIRARDI F, JRC Ispra (IT)
Bibliographic Reference: EUR 12006 IT (1990) 41 pp., MF, ECU 4
Availability: (2)
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