An industrial-scale annular centrifugal extractor for the TRPO process

  • Wu-Hua Duan
  • Tiao-Xiang Sun
  • Jian-Chen Wang


Annular centrifugal extractors (ACEs) offer advantages including excellent hydraulic and mass-transfer performance, small hold-up volume, short residence time, and thus low solvent degradation, high nuclear criticality, easy start-up and shut-down, high compact structure. Therefore, ACEs have attracted increasing interest for future nuclear processing schemes, including the partitioning of high-level liquid waste (HLLW). Laboratory-scale and pilot-scale ACEs have been applied in demonstration tests of the trialkyl phosphine oxide (TRPO) process for HLLW partitioning. In this study, an industrial-scale ACE (260 mm in rotor diameter) with magnetic coupling and a “hanging” rotor structure was developed for the TRPO process. Moreover, a series of hydraulic and mass-transfer tests were carried out in the industrial-scale ACE. The maximum throughput can reach 10 m3/h under suitable operation parameters when kerosene is used as the organic phase, and water is used as the aqueous phase. The influence of the total flowrate, the flow ratio (aqueous/organic, A/O), and the rotor speed on the liquid hold-up volume was determined. The extraction stage efficiency is higher than 98% under test parameters for extraction of Nd3+ and HNO3, using 30% TRPO kerosene as the extractant from an HNO3 solution containing Nd. All results show good performance of the industrial-scale ACE for the TRPO process.


Annular centrifugal extractor TRPO process Mass-transfer efficiency Hydraulic performance Industrial-scale 

List of symbols


Inlet concentration of Nd3+ or HNO3 in the aqueous phase (mg/L or mol/L)


Equilibrium concentration of Nd3+ or HNO3 in the aqueous phase (mg/L or mol/L)


Outlet concentration of Nd3+ or HNO3 in the aqueous phase (mg/L or mol/L)


Inlet concentration of Nd3+ or HNO3 in the organic phase (mg/L or mol/L)


Equilibrium concentration of Nd3+ or HNO3 in the organic phase (mg/L or mol/L)


Outlet concentration of Nd3+ or HNO3 in the organic phase (mg/L or mol/L)


Inside diameter of the rotor (m)


Gravitational acceleration (9.8 m/s2)


Height of the radial vane (m)


Hydrostatic head (m)


Length of the rotor settler (m)


Flow ratio (A/O)


Radius of the heavy phase weir (m)


Inside radius of the housing (m)


Inside radius of the rotor (m)


Radius of the rotor inlet (m)


Radius of the light phase weir (m)


Flowrate of the aqueous phase (m3/h)


Maximum throughput (m3/h)


Flowrate of the organic phase (m3/h)


Total flowrate of both phases (m3/h)


Volume of the vertical baffles inside the rotor (m3)


Liquid hold-up volume in the housing (m3)


Liquid hold-up volume in the rotor (m3)


Calculated liquid hold-up volume of the rotor (m3)


Total liquid hold-up volume (m3)


Liquid hold-up volume of the weir section (m3)

Greek letters


Extraction stage efficiency for the aqueous phase (%)


Extraction stage efficiency for the organic phase (%)


Rotor speed (r/min)


Angular speed of the rotor (rad/s)



Aqueous phase/organic phase


Annular centrifugal extractor


Argonne National Laboratory


Group ActiNide EXtraction


DIAMide EXtraction


DIisoDecylPhosphoric Acid


High-level liquid waste


Partitioning and transmutation


Plutonium and uranium recovery by extraction


N,N,N’,N’-TetraOctyl DiGlycolAmide


TRialkyl phosphine oxide


TRansUranic EXtraction


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Copyright information

© Shanghai Institute of Applied Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Chinese Nuclear Society, Science Press China and Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Nuclear and New Energy Technology, Collaborative Innovation Center of Advanced Nuclear Energy TechnologyTsinghua UniversityBeijingChina

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