Scoping studies of new ion exchange materials

The aim of this project is to develop a better understanding of the key structural and chemical features needed in inorganic ion exchange materials for the effective removal of strontium and caesium from effluent. Materials will be tested for ion exchange performance against the Mud Hills clinoptilolite used in SIXEP in a variety of simulated effluent streams. Mineral sources will include clinoptilolite samples from other locations and also other zeolites such as mordenite and chabazite. Synthetic materials may include IONSIV, Cs-Treat and Sr-Treat depending upon availability. Materials will be characterised in Birmingham using the large suite of available techniques (powder XRD, XRF, electron microscopy, porosimetry) and selected samples studied at the Diamond Light Source using high resolution X-ray powder diffraction. Materials will be tested in as-received forms and also after pre-treatments to assess performance changes and also whether it is possible to control radionuclide uptake levels to control ultimate activity after use.   Testing will utilise the Rapid Ion Exchange Test Method developed at the NNL in collaboration with SL and the NDA and in the latter stages of the project the most promising materials will be used in column trials. Where feasible (i.e. when suitable atomic pair potentials are available), atomistic modelling and molecular dynamics simulations will be used to understand the key structural and chemical features.

Academic Lead: Joe Hriljac
Researcher: James Reed
Location: University of Birmingham