Sofie P. Pasilis | Assistant Professor
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Reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel with recycling of fissile isotopes is necessary to optimize
energy extraction from actinide resources and to minimize waste product production.
Conventional separation processing of actinides and fission products requires the use of
hazardous organic solvents with relatively high disposal costs. However, novel separations
processes using room temperature ionic liquids (RTIL's) either alone or in combination with
supercritical fluid CO2 (sc-CO2) are being developed. The RTIL can be reused and the sc-CO2
phase recycled, after removal of radionuclides. The overall goal of the project described here is
to clarify the fundamental molecular level interactions that underlie extractions of actinides and
lanthanides into RTIL'S and sc-CO2. Understanding these chemical interactions will help
researchers to better understand the extraction mechanisms at play in the RTIL/sc-CO2 system,
and to more fully optimize extraction efficiencies as well as to develop new extraction
techniques. I propose to use Raman and infrared spectroscopies to study how molecular
interactions between RTIL's and sc-CO2 affect actinide speciation and solvation in mixtures of
those solvents under differing conditions of pressure, temperature, and complexing ligand.