Abstract

In the pyrochemical separation of used nuclear fuel (UNF), fission product, rare earth, and actinide chlorides accumulate in the molten salt electrolyte over time. Measuring this salt composition in near real-time is advantageous for operational efficiency, material accountability, and nuclear safeguards. Laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) has been proposed and demonstrated as a potential analytical approach for molten LiCl–KCl salts. However, all the studies conducted to date have used a static surface approach which can lead to issues with splashing, low repeatability, and poor sample homogeneity. In this initial study, a novel molten salt aerosol approach has been developed and explored to measure the composition of the salt via LIBS. The functionality of the system has been demonstrated as well as a basic optimization of the laser energy and nebulizer gas pressure used. Initial results have shown that this molten salt aerosol–LIBS system has a great potential as an analytical technique for measuring the molten salt electrolyte used in this UNF reprocessing technology.

© 2016 The Author(s)

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