Disclosed are electrochemical cells and methods for producing a halide of a non-alkali metal and for electrorefining the halide. The systems typically involve an electrochemical cell having a cathode structure configured for dissolving a hydrogen halide that forms the halide into a molten salt of the halogen and an alkali metal. Typically a direct current voltage is applied across the cathode and an anode that is fabricated with the non-alkali metal such that the halide of the non-alkali metal is formed adjacent the anode. Electrorefining cells and methods involve applying a direct current voltage across the anode where the halide of the non-alkali metal is formed and the cathode where the non-alkali metal is electro-deposited. In a representative embodiment the halogen is chlorine, the alkali metal is lithium and the non-alkali metal is uranium.
The U.S. Government has rights to this invention pursuant to contract number DE-AC05-00OR22800 between the U.S. Department of Energy and Babcock & Wilcox Technical Services Y-12, LLC.