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Issue 3, 2011

A comparative study on dissolution rate of sintered (Th–U)O2 pellets in nitric acid by microwave and conventional heating

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Abstract

ThO2 with approximately 3% 233UO2 is the proposed fuel for the Advanced Heavy Water Reactor (AHWR) and characterized as a mixed oxide (MOX) fuel. Due to the existence of a single oxidation state, quantitative dissolution of MOX samples like (Th–U)O2 and (Th–Pu)O2 is a challenging task for any analytical chemist. However, dissolution is a pre-requisite for complete characterization of the fuel. The present paper describes a detailed study carried out on the comparison of dissolution of sintered (Th–U)O2 mixed oxide pellets, in 16 M HNO3 using microwave and conventional heating techniques, under reflux conditions. The study was carried out with variation of parameters such as concentration of HF and UO2 substitution in the MOX solid solution. The concentration of dissolved U and Th was determined by modified Davies and Gray potentiometric titration and Th-EDTA complexometric titration using xylenol orange as the titration end point indicator respectively. Experimental results clearly indicate that the microwave heating assisted dissolution rate is 2 to 3 times higher than the conventional infrared heating assisted dissolution rate, for sintered pellets. The concentration of HF is a critical parameter, an excess leads to precipitation of insoluble ThF4. The concentration of HF was optimized to 0.025 M. Experimental results also clearly show that at this concentration of HF in 16 M HNO3, a higher substitution of UO2 in MOX solid solution also facilitates the dissolution process. Different trace metal impurities were determined in the MOX samples after dissolving by microwave and infra red heating techniques and it was observed that the results are comparable.

Graphical abstract: A comparative study on dissolution rate of sintered (Th–U)O2 pellets in nitric acid by microwave and conventional heating

Article information


Submitted
19 Oct 2010
Accepted
25 Dec 2010
First published
28 Jan 2011

Anal. Methods, 2011,3, 622-627
Article type
Paper

A comparative study on dissolution rate of sintered (Th–U)O2 pellets in nitric acid by microwave and conventional heating

G. Singh, R. K. Singhal, R. K. Malav, A. Fulzele, A. Prakash, Md. Afzal and J. P. Panakkal, Anal. Methods, 2011, 3, 622 DOI: 10.1039/C0AY00630K

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