the previous electrowinning experiment, ES-8, was reused. Initial analytical results indicate that a significant improvement in reduction rate was achieved with the new basket design. An unusual amount of data scatter was observed with the salt titrations to determine Li 2O content, and further study is needed to understand the reason for this scatter. X-ray diffraction analysis of the reduced uranium product will be done to confirm the titration results. Successful completion of this experiment will assist in design of fuel baskets for a full-scale oxide fuel treatment process.
The interface between the reduction and electrorefining processes is important, because residual lithium and Li2O will react with UCl3 in the electrorefiner. A series of laboratory-scale experiments has been designed to examine this potential interface problem. The current laboratory-scale electrorefiner is sized to handle batch sizes of 20 to 50 g uranium. Efforts are now focused on expanding the capacity to batch sizes of 200 to 600 g uranium. The design of the larger electrorefiner was completed, and fabrication of the cell components is in progress.
Treatment of Aluminum-Based Fuels: Demonstration of the feasibility of electrometallurgical treatment of aluminum alloy spent fuels, such as foreign and domestic research reactor fuels, has been done in laboratory-scale experiments. The key step in treatment of this fuel is electrorefining of the aluminum, which represents about 90% of the spent fuel volume, and which can, after electrorefining, be discarded as low-level waste. Preparation of the engineering-scale aluminum electrorefiner is being done by converting a small storage well in the J-118 glovebox to a furnace well for testing the engineering-scale aluminum electrorefiner. All of the components needed for this test are complete, and testing in the glovebox is ready to begin.