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  • 1 Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute, Daedeok-daero 989-111, Yuseong-gu, Daejeon, 305-353 Republic of Korea
  • 2 KEPCO NF, 1047 Daedeok daero, Yuseong, Daejeon, 305-353 Republic of Korea
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Abstract  

This work studied a way to reclaim uranium from contaminated UO2 oxide scraps as a sinterable UO2 powder for UO2 fuel pellet fabrication, which included a dissolution of the uranium oxide scraps in a carbonate solution with hydrogen peroxide and a UO4 precipitation step. Dissolution characteristics of reduced and oxidized uranium oxides were evaluated in a carbonate solution with hydrogen peroxide, and the UO4 precipitation were confirmed by acidification of uranyl peroxo–carbonate complex solution. An agglomerated UO4 powder obtained by the dissolution and precipitation of uranium in the carbonate solution could not be pulverized into fine UO2 powder by the OREOX process, because of submicron-sized individual UO4 particles forming the agglomerated UO4 precipitate. The UO2 powder prepared from the UO4 precipitate could meet the UO2 powder specifications for UO2 fuel pellet fabrication by a series of steps such as dehydration of UO4 precipitate, reduction, and milling. The sinterability of the reclaimed UO2 powder for fuel pellet fabrication was improved by adding virgin UO2 powder in the reclaimed UO2 powder. A process to reclaim the contaminated uranium scraps as UO2 fuel powder using a carbonate solution was finally suggested.