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Process Chemistry, Simulations, and Safeguards

Our unique expertise and facilities create technologies to enable the treatment of used nuclear fuel and radioactive waste and generate advancements for nuclear nonproliferation.

Why simulate processes and safeguard nuclear materials?

Simulations allow us to find optimal conditions for chemical, electrochemical, and nuclear processes. Our research helps ensure that new reactors and recycling plants will be designed and built to operate safely, efficiently, and securely. This work keeps our nation and the world safe.

Who we are

Our team of scientists and engineers specialize in process simulations, fuel cycle research, nuclear chemical engineering, molten salt chemistry, and electrochemistry.

What we do

Process simulations. We develop, model, design, and demonstrate processes and equipment to treat used nuclear fuel and radioactive waste and to advance nuclear nonproliferation. We produce codes to model the behavior of multi-phase systems and equipment. We model unit operations to develop ways to selectively recover actinides and fission products in used nuclear fuel and radioactive wastes.

Process chemistry. We develop novel monitoring and control technologies and intensified equipment to increase throughput and lower operational and maintenance costs for complex chemical processes.  

Process safeguards. Our chemical and engineering experts improve safeguards and nonproliferation of nuclear materials in complex facilities. We integrate process modeling, process monitoring, and sensor fusion to understand, track and confirm how nuclear materials move through multistage chemical processes.

Argonne has extensive capabilities to model facilities and flowsheets to optimize performance and safeguard materials. Our key modeling tools include:

Argonne Model for Pyrochemical REcycling (AMPYRE)
  • Models electrochemical processing facilities and flowsheets for design and safeguards analysis
Argonne Model for Universal Solvent Extraction (AMUSE)
  • Develops and optimizes complex solvent extraction flowsheets relevant to nuclear processing and critical material separations

Recent work includes:

  • Describing system response and observables of relevant process changes
  • Developing sensors and detectors for nuclear materials in harsh environments
  • Developing techniques for safeguarding nuclear materials