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  • 1 Radioanalytical Chemistry Division, Radiochemistry & Isotope Group, Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, Trombay, Mumbai, 400085 India
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Application of power ultrasound in chemical processes is recognized as an effective tool to solve many industrial problems encountered in processes involved in nuclear industry, particularly, digestion and leaching steps. In addition, problems related to radiological safety are the most important factors to be considered, when handling radioactive materials. Sonochemical processes, due to relatively low temperature operations, are attractive in this regards. Further they are eco-friendly and economical as well. Hence, sonochemical studies were taken up for the removal of uranium from fluoride containing matrix. Dissolution studies were carried out in nitric acid medium, in a 5 L capacity tank type sono-reactor, operating at frequency and power of 22 ± 3 kHz and 150 W respectively. The parameters studied were concentration of HNO3, temperature of water-bath, choice of purged gas (air/oxygen) and flow rate of purged gas passed. Experiments were also carried out to study the amount of fluoride matrix dissolved. Enhancement with US was 76 to 91 % for U removal from MgF2 slag in 2 M HNO3. The prime advantage achieved is the reduction in the reaction time. Other advantages are minimizing labor, remotisation of operations to reduce radiation exposure, use of less acid and accordingly lesser effluent for treatment before disposal.