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Effect of HEH[EHP] impurities on the ALSEP solvent extraction process

Publication Type
Journal Name
Solvent Extraction and Ion Exchange
Publication Date
Page Numbers
22 to 40

In solvent extraction processes, organic phase impurities can negatively impact separation factors, hydrolytic performance, and overall system robustness. The resulting inconsistent performance can affect the process-level viability of a separation concept, and thus knowledge of the impurities present, their effects on the process, and how to remove them are vital. Deleterious impurities may be introduced into a system from reagent synthesis, or result from degradation via radiolysis and hydrolysis during use. In this work, the acidic extractant, 2-ethylhexylphosphonic acid mono-2-ethylhexyl ester (HEH[EHP])—proposed for application in extractive processes aimed at separating trivalent minor actinides from lanthanides and other fission products—is characterized with respect to its common impurities and their impact on Am(III) stripping in the Actinide Lanthanide SEParation (ALSEP) system. To control impurities in HEH[EHP], existing purification technologies commonly applied for the acidic organophosphorus reagent were assessed and a new chromatographic purification method specific to HEH[EHP] is presented.