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Recovery of uranium from an irradiated solid target after removal of molybdenum-99 produced from the irradiated target

United States Patent

October 17, 2017
View the Complete Patent at the US Patent & Trademark Office
Los Alamos National Laboratory - Visit the Technology Transfer Division Website
A process for minimizing waste and maximizing utilization of uranium involves recovering uranium from an irradiated solid target after separating the medical isotope product, molybdenum-99, produced from the irradiated target. The process includes irradiating a solid target comprising uranium to produce fission products comprising molybdenum-99, and thereafter dissolving the target and conditioning the solution to prepare an aqueous nitric acid solution containing irradiated uranium. The acidic solution is then contacted with a solid sorbent whereby molybdenum-99 remains adsorbed to the sorbent for subsequent recovery. The uranium passes through the sorbent. The concentrations of acid and uranium are then adjusted to concentrations suitable for crystallization of uranyl nitrate hydrates. After inducing the crystallization, the uranyl nitrate hydrates are separated from a supernatant. The process results in the purification of uranyl nitrate hydrates from fission products and other contaminants. The uranium is therefore available for reuse, storage, or disposal.
Reilly; Sean Douglas (Los Alamos, NM), May; Iain (Los Alamos, NM), Copping; Roy (Santa Fe, NM), Dale; Gregory Edward (Los Alamos, NM)
Los Alamos National Security, LLC (Los Alamos, NM)
14/ 042,115
September 30, 2013
STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERAL RIGHTS This invention was made with government support under Contract No. DE-AC52-06NA25396 awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy. The government has certain rights in the invention.