Rapid dissolution of PuO2 analytical samples using mediated electrochemical oxidation


Current methods for quantitative dissolution of solid PuO2 involve lengthy dissolution times. The adaptation of mediated electrochemical oxidation, which uses an electrochemically produced oxidizing agent to catalyze dissolution, has been explored for radiochemical analysis scale dissolutions of PuO2. The effects of temperature, electrode material, and electrocatalyst on the dissolution kinetics were explored. Under conditions examined in this study, complete dissolution of tens of milligrams of solid PuO2 can be achieved in less than 1 h at ambient temperature. This methodology could be adapted to dissolve other metal oxides.

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The authors thank Miting Du and Tom Hylton for providing results from the nitric/hydrofluoric acid dissolutions and general discussions on dissolving plutonium oxide. The authors thank the Nuclear Analytical Chemistry and Isotopics Laboratory Group for performing the radioanalytical measurements. Funding for this work was provided by the Science Mission Directorate of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and administered by the US Department of Energy, Office of Nuclear Energy, under contract DEAC05-00OR22725.

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The manuscript was written through contributions of all authors. All authors have given approval to the final version of the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Kristian G. Myhre.

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Woods, M.E., Benny, P.D., Unger, A.J. et al. Rapid dissolution of PuO2 analytical samples using mediated electrochemical oxidation. J Radioanal Nucl Chem 327, 991–995 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10967-020-07577-9

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  • Plutonium oxide
  • Mediated electrochemical oxidation
  • Plutonium-238