Storage methods of nuclear waste have been the subject of controversy for many years. Stored nuclear waste remains dangerous for at least 10,000 years. If the casks that the waste is kept in are not properly protected, then the radioactive material could possibly enter the environment. It is our hope to find a way to extract the radioactive ions from the nuclear waste, by use of polyoxometalates (POMs) bound to colloidal particles, so that the volume of the high-level waste is minimized, thereby reducing the likelihood that it will infiltrate the environment. To accomplish this, first the POM solution of phosphotungstic acid (PTA) and methanol was added to an alumina suspension to attach the PTA to the alumina. Then the lanthanide analog, in this case neodymium, was added to the alumina-supported PTA. The final precipitate was dried and analyzed. The results indicate that neodymium was removed from solution and further research is needed to determine the detailed structure of the final product.
Jennifer Bean, ‘07 Iowa City, IA
Sponsor: Craig Teague