Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Avoid the Fallout

23.01.2012
New Ligands for Nuclear Waste Treatment

Storage and containment of the "nuclear legacy", the highly radiotoxic residues from spent nuclear reactors is a pressing problem for the nuclear power industry that must be solved if nuclear power is to have a genuine contribution to providing carbon footprint minimised power.

The search for new ways to lessen the environmental impact of such events is therefore of utmost importance. An EU-funded team led by Laurence Harwood has now developed a new ligand that may selectively remove radiotoxic materials from aqueous radioactive waste. As the scientists report in the European Journal of Organic Chemistry, their ligand is based on the current benchmark ligand system used in the SANEX process.

One of the major goals in the treatment of nuclear waste is the selective removal of radiotoxic minor actinides (Am and Cm) from the lanthanides in a solvent extraction process, known as the Selective ActiNide EXtraction (SANEX) process. Once separated, these elements may, in future, be used as fuel in Generation IV reactors and transmuted into non-fissile material, while the remaining waste is suitable for safer geological disposal, reducing its environmental impact and ultimately increasing the sustainability of nuclear energy.

A large number of compounds has been tested for their ability to extract actinides in the presence of lanthanides from solutions produced during the reprocessing of nuclear waste. The most promising ligands are based on a bis(1,2,4-triazin-3-yl)-2,2-bipyridine (BTBP) scaffold. The scientists from the UK, Czech Republic, and Spain within the ACSEPT consortium proposed a new set of ligands based on BTBP that contain either two additional alkyl groups or seven-membered aliphatic rings to determine the effects of these modifications on the solubilities and extraction properties of the ligands. It was thought that aliphatic substituents would improve the solubility of the ligands in specific solvents and the absence of benzylic hydrogen atoms would increase the resistance of the ligands to degradation.

The team of researchers found that additional alkyl groups on the scaffold of the ligand did not increase its solubility, but the substituted BTBPs were nevertheless found to be highly efficient and selective in the extraction and separation of AmIII from EuIII in the tested solvents in the presence of a phase modifier. Although a great deal has been concluded from this work, the authors still acknowledge that the challenge to increase the solubilities of the BTBP ligands without adversely affecting their extraction kinetics remains to be addressed, but this work represents a significant contribution to understanding the complexities of this system. The stakes remain high, the rewards even greater.

Author: Laurence Harwood, University of Reading (UK), http://www.reading.ac.uk/chemistry/about/staff/l-m-harwood.aspx
Title: Synthesis and Evaluation of Lipophilic BTBP Ligands for An/Ln Separation in Nuclear Waste Treatment: The Effect of Alkyl Substitution on Extraction Properties and Implications for Ligand Design

European Journal of Organic Chemistry, Permalink to the article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ejoc.201101576

Laurence Harwood | Wiley-VCH
Further information:
http://www.wiley-vch.de
http://www.reading.ac.uk/chemistry/about/staff/l-m-harwood.aspx

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht NYSCF researchers develop novel bioengineering technique for personalized bone grafts
18.07.2018 | New York Stem Cell Foundation

nachricht Pollen taxi for bacteria
18.07.2018 | Technische Universität München

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

Im Focus: Chemical reactions in the light of ultrashort X-ray pulses from free-electron lasers

Ultra-short, high-intensity X-ray flashes open the door to the foundations of chemical reactions. Free-electron lasers generate these kinds of pulses, but there is a catch: the pulses vary in duration and energy. An international research team has now presented a solution: Using a ring of 16 detectors and a circularly polarized laser beam, they can determine both factors with attosecond accuracy.

Free-electron lasers (FELs) generate extremely short and intense X-ray flashes. Researchers can use these flashes to resolve structures with diameters on the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

NYSCF researchers develop novel bioengineering technique for personalized bone grafts

18.07.2018 | Life Sciences

Machine-learning predicted a superhard and high-energy-density tungsten nitride

18.07.2018 | Materials Sciences

Why might reading make myopic?

18.07.2018 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>