Preparation and use of tetra-C-alkyl cobalt dicarbollide for extraction of cesium and strontium into hydrocarbon solvents. Tetra-C-alkyl derivatives of cobalt dicarbollide, Co(C.sub.2 R.sub.2 B.sub.9 H.sub.9).sub.2.sup.- (CoB.sub.2 R.sub.4.sup.- ; R=CH.sub.3 and C.sub.6 H.sub.13) are demonstrated to be significant cesium and strontium extractants from acidic and alkaline solutions into non-toxic organic solvent systems. Extractions using mesitylene and diethylbenzene are compared to those with nitrobenzene as the organic phase. CoB.sub.2 -hexyl.sub.4.sup.- in diethylbenzene shows improved selectivity (10.sup.4) for Cs over Na in acidic solution. In dilute alkaline solution, CoB.sub.2 -hexyl.sub.4.sup.- extracts Cs less efficiently, but more effectively removes Sr from higher base concentrations. A general synthesis of tetra-C-alkyl cobalt dicarbollides is described.
FIELD OF THE INVENTION
The present invention relates generally to the separation of cesium and strontium from aqueous solution and, more particularly, to the extraction of cesium and strontium into hydrocarbon solvents from aqueous solution using tetra-C-alkyl cobalt dicarbollide. The invention was made with government support under Contract No. W-7405-ENG-36 awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy to the Regents of the University of California. The government has certain rights in the invention.