Chemistry Division ANL
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Research Areas

Heavy Element and Separation Science

Heavy Elements Photophysics and Photochemistry

nuclear fuel cycleThe objective of this program is the determination and modeling of electronic and magnetic properties that are characteristic of the heavy elements and their compounds. We probe excited state formation and its consequences using methods, including optically detected nuclear magnetic resonance, that provide unprecedented detail as to the interaction of a heavy element ion with its local environment. Our fundamental studies in gas and solution phases are creating new options for detecting leaking uranium hexafluoride (UF6) cylinders, exploiting radioactive waste species as photocatalysts in destruction of organic compounds in solution, improving nuclear waste forms, and preventing mixed waste generation in decontamination of metal surfaces.

We apply the predictive understanding achieved in this research to fundamentally and technologically important issues throughout the nuclear fuel cycle. The nuclear fuel cycle, as it involves electric power generation from the fissioning of uranium, is shown at the right. This cycle encompasses production of uranium ore via mining, milling of ore to produce a uranium oxide, U3O8, conversion of U3O8 to UF6, uranium isotope enrichment, fabrication of uranium dioxide fuel pellets from enriched UF6, power production from the fissioning of U-235 in fuel pellets in a nuclear reactor, storage of spent reactor fuel, and ultimate geological disposal. Our current work is providing insight into, and the basis for, new methods that address nuclear fuel concerns that arise primarily in postconversion phases.

Contacts: James V. Beitz, Guokui Liu



Interfacial Processes

Radiation and Photochemistry

Biological Materials Growth Facility

Cluster Studies

Chemical Dynamics

Atomic Physics


Heavy Elements

Coordination Chemistry

f-Electron Interactions

Actinide Facility

Computational Materials and Electrochemical Processes

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