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Application des isotopes du molybdène en traçage des matériaux du cycle nucléaire

Abstract : Nuclear forensics aims at determining the age, provenance as well as industrial or storage history of uranium ores and uranium ore concentrates that are part of the nuclear fuel cycle. Several potential tracers have already been identified for this purpose. However, these tracers are not providing always unambiguous information. This study is focused on establishing Mo isotopes as a new tracer of uranium ore provenance and of ore processing for its application in nuclear forensics. Molybdenum and uranium share a number of common geochemical properties. In the nuclear fuel cycle, molybdenum is an impurity that is difficult to separate during uranium extraction and purification processes, while its concentration is required to be lower than some specification limits. We focused this study on the first part of the nuclear fuel cycle, from the uranium ores extraction to the production of uranium ore concentrates.We developed an enhanced separation method for Mo from a uranium-rich matrix (uranium ores, uranium minerals, uranium ore concentrates) in order to analyze the mass fractionation induced by processes typical of the nuclear fuel cycle. Molybdenum isotopic compositions in uranium ores depend of adsorption and precipitation processes. The δ98Mo values of sedimentary uranium ores is shifted to negative values relative to magmatic ores. This provides a means of distinguishing these types of uranium ores. Uranium ores concentrates produced from both uranium ore natures (magmatic and sedimentary) have Mo isotope compositions similar to the uranium ores. These results suggest that molybdenum isotopes have a strong potential of as a tracer for identifying the origin of the uranium ore concentrates. However, Mo isotopes fractionations were established during the production of uranium ore concentrates in the both Niger mills. We reproduced in laboratory the lixiviation, solvent extraction and precipitation processes to explain these observations. The Mo isotopes fractionation is positive for the lixiviation process, negative for the solvent extraction and precipitation with hydrogen peroxide, and null for ammonia precipitation. In the case of the Niger samples, the sum of these processes is negative and agrees with our experimental data. Mo isotopes have a strong potential as a tracer for identifying the origin and transformation of uranium in the nuclear fuel cycle, in the framework of nuclear forensics.
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  • HAL Id : tel-01865822, version 1

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Valérie Migeon. Application des isotopes du molybdène en traçage des matériaux du cycle nucléaire. Sciences de la Terre. Université de Lyon, 2016. Français. ⟨NNT : 2016LYSEN008⟩. ⟨tel-01865822⟩

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