Electrochemical Oxidation of Americium for Nuclear Fuels Reprocessing
The reprocessing of nuclear waste to achieve a closed nuclear fuel cycle is a daunting challenge. One of the most difficult tasks in proposed schemes is the separation of lanthanides from minor actinides, e.g. americium. Size and charge are not different enough between lanthanides and minor actinides to promote selective extraction of either one in the presence of the other, However oxidation of americium to a higher state would enable selective extraction of this element. Instability, rapid reduction and disproportionation of Am(IV) make oxidation difficult but can be overcome with the use of complexing agents. Using cyclic voltammetry, the Am(III) was oxidized in the presence of various complexing agents. Oxidation states in each complexing agent were analyzed and assigned.