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Use of indigenous microwave system for dissolution and treatment of waste from nuclear materials

Microwave heating technique has the unique advantages of low processing time, less consumption of reagents, homogeneous heating and maintenance-free adaptability to glove box. Dissolution of thorium and plutonium containing fuel viz sintered thorium oxide, thorium-uranium oxide and thorium-plutonium oxide pellets is one of the most difficult step for their analysis and characterization. Complete dissolution of the fuel samples is a pre-requisite for the analysis of fuel material in the solution form. Even a trace level of un-dissolved particle may interfere with the accurate and precise determination in the analysis. Large volumes of liquid and solid wastes are generated during the processing and analysis of samples. These wastes being radioactive can’t be disposed directly to sea or soil. They have to be segregated and categorised and all possibilities are explored to see the feasibility of retrieving the precious nuclear material. The present paper describes an overview of all the efforts made at AFFF for rapid dissolution of nuclear materials using an indigenous microwave digestion system as well as its use for the treatment of waste being generated.

Authors:   R. K. Malav, Neeta D. Save, Amrit Prakash, Md. Afzal, J. P. Panakkal
Journal:   Journal of Radioanalytical and Nuclear Chemistry
Year:   2012
DOI:   10.1007/s10967-012-1790-2
Publication date:   05-May-2012
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