The unsymmetrical diglycolamides (DGAs) such as N,N-dihexyl-N′,N′-dioctyl-3-oxapentane-1,5-diamide (DHDODGA), N,N-didecyl-N′,N′-dioctyl-3-oxapentane-1,5-diamide (D2DODGA), N,N-didodecyl-N′,N′-dioctyl-3-oxapentane-1,5-diamide (D3DODGA), were synthesized, and characterized by IR, NMR, and mass spectroscopic techniques. The extraction behaviour of Am(III), Eu(III), and Sr(II) by the solutions of these unsymmetrical DGAs in n-dodecane was studied as a function of concentration of nitric acid and DGA. The distribution ratio of Am(III) and Eu(III) increased with increase in the concentration of nitric acid; whereas, the distribution ratio of Sr(II) reached a maximum at 4 M nitric acid followed by decrease at higher acidities. The extraction of Am(III) and Eu(III) in 0.1 M DGA/n-dodecane decreased in the order DHDODGA > D2DODGA > D3DODGA. However, the order changed upon lowering the concentration of DGA. The third-phase formation behaviour of nitric acid and neodymium(III) in 0.1 M DGA/n-dodecane was studied as a function of concentration of nitric acid. The limiting organic concentration of nitric acid and neodymium increased with increase in the chain length of alkyl group attached to amidic nitrogen. Near stoichiometric amount of neodymium(III) was loaded in 0.1 M D3DODGA/n-dodecane without the formation of third-phase from 3 to 4 M nitric acid medium. The study revealed that the unsymmetrical diglycolamides D2DODGA and D3DODGA are superior candidates for partitioning the minor actinides from high-level liquid waste.
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The authors thank Sophisticated Analytical Instrument Facility (SAIF), IIT Madras for 1H-NMR and 13C-NMR spectral recordings, Dr. K. N. Sabharwal for IR spectra recording and Ms O. K. Prajina, Cochin University for her assistance in some experiments.
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