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EDTA chromatography nuclear reprocessing

Separate actinides as EDTA complexes using chromatography
  [vote for,

I was surprised to read that lanthanide metals can be separated at very high purity using EDTA chromatography [link].

"EDTA causes the lanthanides to migrate down the column of resin while separating into bands of pure lanthanides. The lanthanides elute in order of decreasing atomic number"

If it works for lanthanides, wouldn't it also work for actinides?

Perhaps these could be separated by atomic number for reprocessing of spent fuel, producing high-purity actinides for medical/scientific use, rather than just sending it all to waste (as with PUREX raffinate).

Reduced nuclear waste, and possibly some useful products.

Frankx, Oct 30 2019

EDTA ...can be used to separate Lanthanides
Under “Uses”, but there’s no citation link [Frankx, Oct 30 2019]


       It does work, but it's expensive and the products aren't commercially useful. For the small amounts wanted, carrier precipitation works sufficiently well.   

       The usual disposal route for actinides involves precipitation/flocculation, press filtration, and then either glassification & burial in a geologic depository (officially) or packing into rusty second-hand oil drums and quietly shipping to far away hot countries where it's given away free to uneducated, poor dark-skinned people for use as house-building material (unofficially, but much cheaper and therefore much more common)
8th of 7, Oct 30 2019

       [+] though I'd like to see the link, promised.
FlyingToaster, Oct 30 2019

       Link provided. [8th], I think some of the products might be useful. Americium his potential industrial, compact reactor and military applications. And removing any radionuclides for other uses (and acknowledging that this wouldn’t discriminate between isotopes) would reduce the net activity of wastes, which is probably (acknowledging the “intrinsic security” in wastes being dangerous) overall a good thing.
Frankx, Oct 30 2019

       // reduce the net activity of wastes //   

       No, because you've still got a load of hot stuff you don't want, but in a pure form.   

       If these nuclides were of any commercial value they would already be extracted and sold to offset the costs.   

       A lump of glass that contains a grab-bag of assorted rubbish, but not enough of any one thing to be useful, is much less of a threat from a security point of view.
8th of 7, Oct 30 2019

       //No, because you’ve still got a load of hot stuff//   

       But if you can extract some of the useful radionuclides from the waste stream, the cost of disposing the remaining waste can be much reduced. Interesting to note that Dounreay PFR raffinate was accepted to be downgraded to Intermediate Level Waste because of it’s low reactivity. So cement encapsulation: vitrification plant not required.
Frankx, Oct 30 2019

       // PFR raffinate was accepted to be downgraded to Intermediate Level Waste //   

       Yes, but only because they shoved a huge amount of seriously nasty crap down that bloody borehole, until it blew back over everything ...
8th of 7, Oct 30 2019

       Ha! Yes, that was a problem. But as you know, that has no bearing on the reprocessing or activity of the spent fuel waste.
Frankx, Oct 30 2019

       I don't give a stuff about the idea in general, but you've inspired a very promising series of thoughts. We have a lot of problems with calcium contamination in permeabilized cell/mitochondrial preps, an EGTA gel might be a clever little solution.
bs0u0155, Oct 31 2019

       // Link provided // not so much ; click and see.   

       I've worked with chromotography (which just means "spectrum", obviously) equipment, and was wondering what differentiated EDTA from others.   

       It's a fair bet that - if the hidden environmental costs of mining are recognized - reclaiming options would be considered cheaper.
FlyingToaster, Oct 31 2019

       // Yes, that was a problem. //   

       Oh, we adore the gorgeous way you skilfully elided that into the past tense ... have you ever considered working in PR for the nuclear industry ?   

       Or maybe the aviation industry ... "Yes, the 737MAX falling out of the sky was a problem ... yes, the tailfin breaking off the Airbus was a problem ..."
8th of 7, Oct 31 2019


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