Investigation of Methods for Producing Reactor-Grade Zirconium Oxide From a Zirconium-Bearing Chloride-Sulfate Strip Liquor Solution
Description:The Bureau of Mines investigated two alternative methods for treating a zirconium-bearing chloride-sulfate strip liquor to obtain reactor-grade Zr02. One method involves neutralization with NH3 and the other hydrothermal precipitation. The strip liquor was derived from zircon sand by a Bureau of Mines method for separating zirconium and hafnium via solvent extraction with a tertiary amine. Neutralization with NH3 to precipitate hydrous zirconium oxide required 0.9 to 1.1 g NH3 per gram of zirconium. The NH3 can be recovered for recycle. Zr02 that met reactor-grade specifications was produced by precipitation with NH3• Hydrothermal precipitation of Zr02 from strip liquor required that the solution be maintained at 2600 C and 680 psi for 10 min and in a non-corrodible pressure vessel. In bench-scale experiments both methods gave-zirconium recoveries greater than 99 pct.
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