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Oxidation-reduction reactions of simple hydroxamic acids and plutonium(IV) ions in nitric acid

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published

Journal publication date31/03/2008
JournalRadiochimica Acta
Journal number6
Volume96
Number of pages11
Pages333-343
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Simple hydroxamic acids such as formo- and aceto-hydroxamic acids have been proposed as suitable reagents for the separation of either Pu and/or Np from U in modified or single cycle Purex based solvent extraction processes designed to meet the emerging requirements of advanced fuel cycles. The stability of these hydroxamic acids is dominated by their decomposition through acid hydrolysis. Kinetic studies of the acid hydrolysis of formo- and acetohydroxamic acids are reported in the absence and the presence of Pu(IV) ions. The slow reduction of these plutonium(IV) hydroxamate complexes to Pu(III) aquo-ions has been characterised by spectrophotometry and cyclic voltammetry. The reductions of Pu(IV) in the presence of FHA and AHA are consistent with a mechanism in which free hydroxamic acid in solution is hydrolysed whilst Pu(IV) ions remain fully complexed to hydroxamate ligands; then at some point close to a 1 : 1 Pu(IV) : XHA ratio, some free Pu4+ is released from the complex and reduction is initiated. Electrochemical and kinetic data suggest that the reductant is the hydroxamic acid rather than the hydroxylamine.