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Reference Number EP/G004846/1
Title Making, Stabilising and Understanding Unusual Intermediate Oxidation States in the Early Actinides
Status Completed
Energy Categories NUCLEAR FISSION and FUSION(Nuclear Fission, Other nuclear fission) 100%;
Research Types Basic and strategic applied research 100%
Science and Technology Fields PHYSICAL SCIENCES AND MATHEMATICS (Chemistry) 100%
UKERC Cross Cutting Characterisation Not Cross-cutting 100%
Principal Investigator Dr LS Natrajan
No email address given
University of Manchester
Award Type Standard
Funding Source EPSRC
Start Date 02 January 2009
End Date 31 March 2014
Duration 62 months
Total Grant Value £1,154,494
Industrial Sectors Energy
Region North West
Programme Energy : Physical Sciences
Investigators Principal Investigator Dr LS Natrajan , Chemistry, University of Manchester (100.000%)
  Industrial Collaborator Project Contact , Nexia Solutions (0.000%)
Web Site
Abstract Energy use, especially in the form of electricity is an essential requirement for modern life, and one that most of us could not even contemplate living without. From transport and travel to computers and televisions, the global demand for energy is on the increase. The drawback of recent technological advances however, is that greenhouse gases, in particular CO2 are emitted during the production of energy. Growing public awareness of climate change and its future impacts on the world as we know it have recently shifted the focus from fossil fuel usage to alternative energy sources, and legislation is now in place for reducing the carbon footprint. Among the alternative options, nuclear energy remains the most viable in the short term since the technology is already in place for proficient energy production. Nuclear electricity generation currently supplies around 17 % of the worldwide energy demand (18.4 % in the U.K.) and has already created a legacy of environmental problems due to high level radioactive wastes associated with waste storage and production. This proposal concentrates on the chemistry of the radioactive actinide ions (uranium, plutonium and neptunium) used in the nuclear fuel industry, ways to identify and 'clean up' toxic wastes from the environment and methods to eliminate the need for storing high level wastes in the future. Since the actinides used in current reactors are generated under conditions that are dissimilar to the naturalenvironment, the chemistry of these metals outside of the reactor is completely different and they often exist in unusual oxidation states for a certain period of time before being further altered or reacting. In order to reduce the detrimental impact these radiotoxic wastes have on the environment, it is imperative that we understand their chemistry in full. This can only be achieved by studying the chemistry of these metals in their reactive unstable oxidation states in controlled laboratory conditions using specially designed chemistry. By doing this, we can identify methods of stabilizing these oxidation states and ways for selectively removing them from contaminated sites so that they can ultimately be recycled and used for further energy production. This project will initially examine the chemistry of uranium in the +V oxidation state by synthesizing a range of complexes stabilized by different organic groups under anaerobic conditions, and study the way the chemical groupsaround them inhibit or enhance reactivity. This chemistry will then be applied to the stabilization of the more radiotoxic elements plutonium and neptunium. At the core of the project is the development of a spectroscopic fingerprint (using time resolved luminescence spectroscopy) of unstable (and stable) oxidation states of these elements in order to develop a non-invasive method of identifying such species in the environment that may exist on a timescale that is too fast using current radiometric and chemical methods
Publications (none)
Final Report (none)
Added to Database 22/08/08