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Summary  

The Advanced Spent Conditioning Process (ACP) developed by the KAERI is based on pyrometallurgy and the electrolytic reduction plays a central role in transforming spent oxide fuels into metals. The constituents of the spent fuels are distributed between a salt and a reduced metal phase during electrolysis. Lithium metal is produced in a molten LiCl-Li2O cell and then it reacts with the metal oxides of the spent fuel producing Li2O and reduced metals. By focusing on the activity of Li2O and the electric potential, the electrolytic reduction process of the ACP is discussed. Thermodynamic considerations are defined and operation conditions are proposed including Li2O activity and cell potential.

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Abstract  

This paper describes ongoing research into the multi-physics model development of an electrorefining process for the treatment of spent nuclear fuel. A forced convection of molten eutectic (LiCl–KCl) electrolyte in an electrorefining cell is considered to establish an appropriate electro-fluid model within the 3-dimensional framework of a conventional computational fluid dynamic model. This computational platform includes the electrochemical reaction rate of charge transfer kinetics which is described by a Butler–Volmer equation, while mass transport is considered using an ionic transport equation. The coupling of the local overpotential distribution and uranium concentration gradient makes it possible to predict the local current density distribution at the electrode surfaces.

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Journal of Radioanalytical and Nuclear Chemistry
Authors: K. Kim, J. Bae, B. Park, D. Ahn, S. Paek, S. Kwon, J. Shim, S. Kim, H. Lee, E. Kim, and I. Hwang

Abstract  

A pyrochemical processing has become one of the potential technologies for a future nuclear fuel cycle. An integrated multi-physics simulation and electrotransport model of a molten-salt electrolytic process are proposed and discussed with respect to the recovery of pure uranium when using thermochemical data. This study has been performed to provide information for diffusion boundary layers between the molten salt (KCl-LiCl) and electrode. The diffusion-controlled electrochemical model demonstrate a prediction of the electrotransport behaviors of LWR spent fuel as a function of the time up to the corresponding electrotransport satisfying a given applied current based on a galvanostatic electrolysis.

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