|dc.description.abstract||This dissertation focuses on key intergroup and intragroup separations found in the back end of the nuclear fuel cycle, specifically americium from lanthanides and americium from other actinides, most importantly americium from curium. Our goal is to implement a liquid-solid separation process to reduce waste and risk of contamination by the development of metal(IV) phosphate phosphonate inorganic organic hybrid ion exchange materials with the ideal formula of M(O6P2C6H4)0.5(O3POA) * nH2O, where M = Zr or Sn, A = H or Na. These materials have previously shown to have high affinity for Ln, this work will expand on the previous studies and provide methods for the above target separation, exploiting oxidation state and ion charge to drive the separation process.
The optimum hydrothermal reaction conditions were determined by adjusting parameters such as reaction temperature and time, as well as the phosphonate to phosphate (pillarto-spacer) ligands ratio. Following these results four bulk syntheses were performed and their ion exchange properties were thoroughly examined. Techniques such as inductively coupled mass spectrometry and liquid scintillation counting were used to determine the affinity of the materials towards Na+, Cs+, Ca2+, Sr2+, Ni2+, Nd3+, Sm3+, Ho3+, Yb3+, NpO2+, Pu4+, PuO22+, Am3+, AmO2+, and Cm3+.
Separation factors in the thousands have been observed for intergroup separations of the Ln from the alkali, alkaline earth, and low valent transition metals. A new method for Am oxidation was developed, which employed Na2S2O8 as the oxidizing agent and Ca(OCl)2 as the stabilizing agent for AmO2+ synthesis. Separation factors of 30-60 for Nd3+ and Eu3+ from AmO2+, as well as 20 for Cm3+ from AmO2+ were observed at pH 2. The work herein shows that a liquid-solid separation can be carried out for these difficult separations by means of oxidation and ion exchange.||en