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J Radioanal Nucl Chem. 2014;299(1):651-655. Epub 2013 Oct 8.

Synthesis of microspheres of triuranium octaoxide by simultaneous water and nitrate extraction from ascorbate-uranyl sols.

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Institute of Nuclear Chemistry and Technology (INCT), 16 Dorodna Str., 03-195 Warsaw, Poland.
Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH, Institut für Energie-und Klimaforschung, Nukleare Entsorgung und Reaktorsicherheit (IEK-6), Jülich, Germany.


A new method for synthesis of uranium oxide microspheres (diameter <100 μm) has been developed. It is a variant of our patented Complex Sol-Gel Process, which has been used to synthesize high-quality powders of a wide variety of complex oxides. Starting uranyl-nitrate-ascorbate sols were prepared by addition of ascorbic acid to uranyl nitrate hexahydrate solution and alkalizing by aqueous ammonium hydroxide and then emulsified in 2-ethylhexanol-1 containing 1v/o SPAN-80. Drops of emulsion were firstly gelled by extraction of water by the solvent. Destruction of the microspheres during thermal treatment, owing to highly reactive components in the gels, requires modification of the gelation step by Double Extraction Process-simultaneously extraction of water and nitrates using Primene JMT, which completely eliminates these problem. Final step was calcination in air of obtained microspheres of gels to triuranium octaoxide.


Nuclear fuel; Sol–gel; Spherical particles; Uranium oxides

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