Nuclide separation modeling through reverse osmosis membranes in radioactive liquid waste

Article English OPEN
Lee, Byung-Sik (2015)
  • Publisher: Elsevier BV
  • Journal: Nuclear Engineering and Technology, volume 47, issue 7, pages 859-866 (issn: 1738-5733)
  • Related identifiers: doi: 10.1016/
  • Subject: Membrane performance | Salt rejection | Nuclear engineering. Atomic power | Extended Nernst-Planck equation | Reverse osmosis | Nuclear Energy and Engineering | Transport model | TK9001-9401
    arxiv: Nuclear Experiment

The aim of this work is to investigate the transport mechanism of radioactive nuclides through the reverse osmosis (RO) membrane and to estimate its effectiveness for nuclide separation from radioactive liquid waste. An analytical model is developed to simulate the RO separation, and a series of experiments are set up to confirm its estimated separation behavior. The model is based on the extended Nernst–Plank equation, which handles the convective flux, diffusive flux, and electromigration flux under electroneutrality and zero electric current conditions. The distribution coefficient which arises due to ion interactions with the membrane material and the electric potential jump at the membrane interface are included as boundary conditions in solving the equation. A high Peclet approximation is adopted to simplify the calculation, but the effect of concentration polarization is included for a more accurate prediction of separation. Cobalt and cesium are specifically selected for the experiments in order to check the separation mechanism from liquid waste composed of various radioactive nuclides and nonradioactive substances, and the results are compared with the estimated cobalt and cesium rejections of the RO membrane using the model. Experimental and calculated results are shown to be in excellent agreement. The proposed model will be very useful for the prediction of separation behavior of various radioactive nuclides by the RO membrane.
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