Posts Tagged ‘distribution coefficient’


Refining Uranium by the PUREX Process

September 18, 2009

PUREX_0PUREX is the major chemical technique for recovering uranium from spent nuclear fuel. Based on the highly-selective extraction of uranyl nitrate from aqueous solution by tributyl phosphate  (TBP) in a nonpolar organic solvent, the technique is straightforward for home chemists to exploit in order to refine their personal uranium stockpiles.  The photo illustrates the supplies used in the following procedure: nitric acid, tri-n-butyl phosphate (from, Kleen-Strip 1-K kerosene (Home Depot), and 4.8 g of homemade uranyl oxide.

Caution: the PUREX procedure involves intimately contacting nitric acid with highly-flammable organic material!  Work with small quantities.  Concentrated acid will form explosive oils, so always dilute it to 6M or less.  This discussion presupposes essential safety understanding of the chemicals and techniques involved.

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