Journal of Radioanalytical and Nuclear Chemistry

, Volume 322, Issue 2, pp 331–336 | Cite as

Efficient preparation of UCl3 by ZnCl2 mediated chlorination

  • Chang Hwa LeeEmail author
  • Tack-Jin Kim
  • Dalsung Yoon
  • Junhyuk Jang
  • Gha-Young Kim
  • Sung-Jai Lee


U chlorination is demonstrated using electrochemical and chemical reactions with ZnCl2 in LiCl–KCl molten salts. Voltammetric studies indicate the instantaneous formation of UCl3 by reaction with ZnCl2, along with the redox reactions of Zn and U–Zn alloys. Chronoamperometry was found effective for indirect monitoring of U chlorination reaction that occurs chemically in the salt. Inductively coupled plasma-optical emission spectroscopy studies confirm the uniform distribution of UCl3 product in the salt, and the electrochemically recovered liquid Zn metal settles at the bottom of the reactor.


UCl3 Uranium chlorination ZnCl2 Chronoamperometry Electrorefining 



This work was supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) grant funded by the Korean Ministry of Science and ICT (MSIT) [Grant Number 2017M2A8A5015079].


  1. 1.
    Hait J, Jana RK, Sanyal SK (2009) Processing of copper electrorefining anode slime: a review. Miner Process Extr Metall 118:240–252CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Popov KI, Djokic SS, Grgur BN (2002) Fundamental aspects of electrometallurgy. Springer, Boston, MAGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Tomczuk Z, Ackerman JP, Wolson RD, Miller WE (1992) Uranium transport to solid electrodes in pyrochemical reprocessing of nuclear fuel. J Electrochem Soc 139:3523–3528CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Lee H, Hur JM, Kim JG, Ahn DH, Cho YZ, Paek SW (2011) Korean pyrochemical process R&D activities. Energy Procedia 7:391–395CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Laidler JJ, Battles JE, Miller WE, Ackerman JP, Carls EL (1997) Development of pyroprocessing technology. Prog Nucl Energy 31:131–140CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Westphal BR, Price JC, Mariani RD (2011) Synthesis of uranium trichloride for the pyrometallurgical processing of used nuclear fuel. In: Fray international symposium on molten salts and ionic liquidsGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Inman D, Hills GJ, Young L, Bockris JO’M (1959) Electrode reactions in molten salts: the uranium + uranium trichloride system. Trans Faraday Soc 55:1904–1914CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Miller WE, Tomczuk Z (2004) Method for making a uranium chloride salt product. US Patent 6,800,262 B1Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Woo MS, Kang HS, Lee HS (2009) LiCl–KCl–UCl3 salt production and transfer for the uranium electrorefining. Transactions of the Korean Nuclear Society Spring Meeting, JejuGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Li SX, Vaden D, Westphal BR, Fredrickson GL, Benedict RW, Johnson TA (2009) Integrated efficiency test for pyrochemical fuel cells. Nucl Technol 166:180–186CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Lambert H, Kerry T, Sharrad CA (2018) Preparation of uranium(III) in a molten chloride salt: a redox mechanistic study. J Radioanal Nucl Chem 317:925–932CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Masset P, Bottomley D, Konings R, Malmbeck R, Rodrigues A, Serp J, Glatz JP (2005) Electrochemistry of uranium in molten LiCl–KCl eutectic. J Electrochem Soc 152:A1109–A1115CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Eun HC, Kim TJ, Jang JH, Kim GY, Lee SJ, Hur JM (2017) A study on chlorination of uranium metal using ammonium chloride. J Radioanal Nucl Chem 314:533–537CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Bindra P, White JR (1990) Chapter 12. In: Mallory GO, Hajdu JB (eds) Electroless plating: fundamentals and applications. American Electroplaters Society, WashingtonGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Chiotti P, Mason JT (1975) Phase diagram and thermodynamic properties of the uranium-zinc system. J Less Common Metals 40:39–55CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Kim GY, Kim TJ, Jang J, Eun HC, Lee SJ (2017) Formation of U–Zn alloys in the molten LiCl–KCl eutectic. J Radioanal Nucl Chem 314:529–532CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Plambeck JA, Bard AJ (eds) (1976) Fused salt systems in encyclopedia of electrochemistry of the elements, vol 10. Marcel Dekker, Inc., New YorkGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Shirai O, Nagai T, Uehara A, Yamana H (2008) Electrochemical properties of the Ag+|Ag and other reference electrodes in the LiCl–KCl eutectic melts. J Alloys Compd 456:498–502CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, Hungary 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Nuclear Fuel Cycle Process Development DivisionKorea Atomic Energy Research InstituteDaejeonRepublic of Korea

Personalised recommendations