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Following the electroreduction of uranium dioxide to uranium in LiCl–KCl eutectic in situ using synchrotron radiation

DOI: 10.1016/j.jnucmat.2015.04.037 DOI Help

Authors: L D Brown (University College London (UCL)) , Rema Abdulaziz (University College London (UCL)) , Rhodri Jervis (University College London) , Vidal Bharath (University College London (UCL)) , R C Attwood (Diamond Light Source) , Christina Reinhard (Diamond Light Source) , Leigh Connor (Diamond Light Source) , S J R Simons (University College London (UCL)) , D. Inman (University College London (UCL)) , D J L Brett (University College London (UCL)) , Paul Shearing (University College London)
Co-authored by industrial partner: No

Type: Journal Paper
Journal: Journal Of Nuclear Materials , VOL 464 , PAGES 256 - 262

State: Published (Approved)
Published: September 2015
Diamond Proposal Number(s): 9690

Open Access Open Access

Abstract: The electrochemical reduction of uranium dioxide to metallic uranium has been investigated in lithium chloride–potassium chloride eutectic molten salt. Laboratory based electrochemical studies have been coupled with in situ energy dispersive X-ray diffraction, for the first time, to deduce the reduction pathway. No intermediate phases were identified using the X-ray diffraction before, during or after electroreduction to form α-uranium. This suggests that the electrochemical reduction occurs via a single, 4-electron-step, process. The rate of formation of α-uranium is seen to decrease during electrolysis and could be a result of a build-up of oxygen anions in the molten salt. Slow transport of O2− ions away from the UO2 working electrode could impede the electrochemical reduction.

Subject Areas: Chemistry, Materials, Energy


Instruments: I12-JEEP: Joint Engineering, Environmental and Processing