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A novel molten-salt electrochemical cell for investigating the reduction of uranium dioxide to uranium metal by lithium using in situ synchrotron radiation

DOI: 10.1107/S1600577517000625 DOI Help

Authors: Leon Brown (University College London (UCL)) , Rema Abdulaziz (University College London (UCL)) , Rhodri Jervis (University College London (UCL)) , Vidal Bharath (University College London (UCL)) , Thomas J. Mason (University College London (UCL)) , Robert C. Atwood (Diamond Light Source) , Christina Reinhard (Diamond Light Source) , Leigh Connor (Diamond Light Source) , Douglas Inman (University College London (UCL)) , Daniel J. L. Brett (University College London (UCL)) , Paul R. Shearing (Imperial College London)
Co-authored by industrial partner: No

Type: Journal Paper
Journal: Journal Of Synchrotron Radiation , VOL 24

State: Published (Approved)
Published: March 2017
Diamond Proposal Number(s): 9690

Abstract: A novel electrochemical cell has been designed and built to allow for in situ energy-dispersive X-ray diffraction measurements to be made during reduction of UO2 to U metal in LiCl–KCl at 500°C. The electrochemical cell contains a recessed well at the bottom of the cell into which the working electrode sits, reducing the beam path for the X-rays through the molten-salt and maximizing the signal-to-noise ratio from the sample. Lithium metal was electrodeposited onto the UO2 working electrode by exposing the working electrode to more negative potentials than the Li deposition potential of the LiCl–KCl eutectic electrolyte. The Li metal acts as a reducing agent for the chemical reduction of UO2 to U, which appears to proceed to completion. All phases were fitted using Le Bail refinement. The cell is expected to be widely applicable to many studies involving molten-salt systems.

Journal Keywords: cell design; molten-salt reduction; spent fuel reprocessing; energy-dispersive X-ray diffraction

Subject Areas: Chemistry


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