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Reactivity and mechanistic studies of small molecules at model metal oxide surfaces: Underpinning PuO2 safe storage

Hicks, Mark 2015. Reactivity and mechanistic studies of small molecules at model metal oxide surfaces: Underpinning PuO2 safe storage. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.
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Abstract

The nuclear fuel cycle represents the nuclear power generation process, from mining the uranium ore to the treatment of waste. The fuel cycle is divided into two parts, the front end of the process and the back end of the process, with the nuclear power station being in the middle1. The processes before reaching the nuclear power station consist of uranium exploration, mining, refining, isotope enriching and fuel element fabrication1. Uranium is mined in twenty countries, but 52 % of the world supply of uranium comes from just 6 countries. These countries are Canada, Australia, Russia, Kazakhstan, Namibia and Niger.2 Uranium is mined in several different types of mine. These include an open pit mine, an underground mine or in-situ leaching mine. In an open pit mine the ore lies close to the surface and the overlying layer of rock is removed creating a large pit where the ore is easily extractable2. An underground mine is used when the ore lies deeper under the surface and the construction of access shafts and tunnels under the ground are needed to gain access to the uranium ore2. The uranium ore is sometimes contained in ground water or a porous material, such as sand. In this case, a process called in-situ leaching is used to extract the uranium ore. Either acid or alkali (depending on the nature of the groundwater) is added to the ground water to dissolve the ore, and the resulting solution is pumped out2. The ore then undergoes a milling process to extract the uranium oxides needed for fuel fabrication. Milling is normally carried out close to the mine where the ore has been extracted. The ore is crushed and then leached with sulphuric acid in order to dissolve the uranium oxides.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Chemistry
Subjects: Q Science > QD Chemistry
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Last Modified: 19 Mar 2016 23:52
URI: http://orca-mwe.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/69894

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