Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Cleaner, low temperature nuclear fuels?

Date:
May 7, 2013
Source:
University of Nottingham
Summary:
The search for cleaner, low temperature nuclear fuels has produced a surprising result for a team of experts. First they created a stable version of a 'trophy molecule' that has eluded scientists for decades. Now they have discovered that the bonding within this molecule is far different than expected. Remarkably their findings have shown that it behaves in much the same way as its counterparts in the well-known transitional metals such as chromium, molybdenum and tungsten.

The search for cleaner, low temperature nuclear fuels has produced a shock result for a team of experts at The University of Nottingham.

First they created a stable version of a 'trophy molecule' that has eluded scientists for decades. Now they have discovered that the bonding within this molecule is far different than expected. Remarkably their findings have shown that it behaves in much the same way as its counterparts in the well-known transitional metals such as chromium, molybdenum and tungsten.

The research, done by PhD student David King, which could help in the extraction and separation of the two to three per cent of highly radioactive material in nuclear waste, was led by Professor Stephen Liddle in the School of Chemistry, and has been published in the academic journal Nature Chemistry.

Professor Liddle said: "The major motivation for doing the first piece of research was to understand the nature of the chemical bonding of uranium. Now we have extended the series to enable meaningful comparisons the 'shock' is that whereas the bonding would be expected to be very different to commonly known and well understood transition metal analogues the bonding is in fact very similar. This is a real surprise and could have an effect on nuclear clean up because differences in chemical bonding are exploited in the separation processes.

Building on previous advances

Working with experts in the Photon Science Institute at The University of Manchester, their latest discovery builds on their previous advances in this area of chemistry, published in the academic journal Science last year.

With funding from the Royal Society, European Research Council, and Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council the team first established the method to make the 'title molecule'. For the first time they prepared a terminal uranium nitride compound which was stable at room temperature and could be stored in jars in crystallized or powder form.

Previous attempts to do this required temperatures as low as -268 C -- roughly the equivalent temperature of interstellar space -- therefore these compounds have, until now, been difficult to work with and manipulate, requiring specialist equipment and techniques.

Exploiting the bonding process

Professor Liddle said: "What the nuclear industry wants to do is minimise the volume of waste by extracting the radioactive elements from spent fuel. This relies on exploiting differences in the bonding, but in some circumstances it may be surprisingly similar and this is going to be important in the amelioration of nuclear waste clean-up and devising new atom-efficient catalytic cycles."

The way atoms behave in uranium bonding is still unclear and there is much debate and great interest in respect to the nature of uranium nitride materials because they have the potential to offer a viable alternative to the mixed oxide nuclear fuels currently used in reactors. Nitrides exhibit superior high densities, melting points and thermal conductivities and the process this team of researchers has developed could offer a cleaner, low temperature route reducing the amount of impurities which are difficult to remove from the waste produced by current fuels.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Nottingham. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. David M. King, Floriana Tuna, Eric J. L. McInnes, Jonathan McMaster, William Lewis, Alexander J. Blake, Stephen T. Liddle. Isolation and characterization of a uranium(VI)–nitride triple bond. Nature Chemistry, 2013; DOI: 10.1038/nchem.1642

Cite This Page:

University of Nottingham. "Cleaner, low temperature nuclear fuels?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 May 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130507115541.htm>.
University of Nottingham. (2013, May 7). Cleaner, low temperature nuclear fuels?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 26, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130507115541.htm
University of Nottingham. "Cleaner, low temperature nuclear fuels?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130507115541.htm (accessed July 26, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Europe's Highest Train Turns 80 in French Pyrenees

Europe's Highest Train Turns 80 in French Pyrenees

AFP (July 25, 2014) Europe's highest train, the little train of Artouste in the French Pyrenees, celebrates its 80th birthday. Duration: 01:05 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
TSA Administrator on Politics and Flight Bans

TSA Administrator on Politics and Flight Bans

AP (July 24, 2014) TSA administrator, John Pistole's took part in the Aspen Security Forum 2014, where he answered questions on lifting of the ban on flights into Israel's Tel Aviv airport and whether politics played a role in lifting the ban. (July 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Creative Makeovers for Ugly Cellphone Towers

Creative Makeovers for Ugly Cellphone Towers

AP (July 24, 2014) Mobile phone companies and communities across the country are going to new lengths to disguise those unsightly cellphone towers. From a church bell tower to a flagpole, even a pencil, some towers are trying to make a point. (July 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Algonquin Power Goes Activist on Its Target Gas Natural

Algonquin Power Goes Activist on Its Target Gas Natural

TheStreet (July 23, 2014) When The Deal's Amanda Levin exclusively reported that Gas Natural had been talking to potential suitors, the Ohio company responded with a flat denial, claiming its board had not talked to anyone about a possible sale. Lo and behold, Canadian utility Algonquin Power and Utilities not only had approached the company, but it did it three times. Its last offer was for $13 per share as Gas Natural's was trading at a 60-day moving average of about $12.50 per share. Now Algonquin, which has a 4.9% stake in Gas Natural, has taken its case to shareholders, calling on them to back its proposals or, possibly, a change in the target's board. Video provided by TheStreet
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins