A Study of Cleaning Technology for Zirconium Scrap Recycling in the Nuclear Industry

원자력산업에서 지르코늄 스크랩 재활용을 위한 세정기술에 관한 연구

  • Received : 2013.07.15
  • Accepted : 2013.08.14
  • Published : 2013.09.30


In this study, we optimized the removal condition of contaminants attached on the scrap surface to recycle the scrap generated from the Zr alloy tube manufacturing process back to the nuclear grade. The main contaminant is remnant of watersoluble cooling lubricant that is used in the pilgering manufacture during the tube production, and it is assumed to be compressed and carbonized on the surface of tube. Zirlo alloy tube of ${\phi}9.50mm$, which has high occurrence frequency of scrap, was selected as the object to be cleaned, and cleaning abilities of reagents were evaluated by measuring the characteristics of contaminants remained and by analyzing the surface of the tube after cleaning process. For evaluation of each cleaning agent, we selected two types of sodium hydroxide series and three types of potassium hydroxide series. Furthermore, to confirm dependence on tempe-rature and ultrasonic intensities, cleaning at the room temperature, $40^{\circ}C$, and $60^{\circ}C$ was conducted, and results showed that higher the cleaning temperature and higher the ultrasonic intensity, better the cleaning effect. As a result of the bare-eye inspection, while the use of sodium hydroxide provided satisfactory condition on the tube surface, the use of potassium hydroxide series provided satisfactory condition on the tube surface only when the ultrasonic intensity was over 120 W. In the cleaning effect analysis using the gravimetric method, cleaning efficiency of sodium hydroxide series was as high as 97.6% ($60^{\circ}C$, 120 W), but since the tube surface condition was poor after the use of potassium hydroxide, the gravimetric method was not appropriate. In the analytical result of surface contaminants on the tube surface, C, O, Ca, and Zr were detected, and mainly C and O dominated the proportion of contaminants. It was also found that the degree of cleaning on the tube affected the componential ratio of C and O; if the degree of cleaning is high, or if cleaning is well-conducted, the proportion of C is decreased, and the proportion of O is increased. Based on these results, optimal cleaning for application in the industry can be expected by categorizing cleaning process into three steps of Alkali cleaning, Rinsing, and Drying and by adjusting cleaning parameters in each step.


Cladding tube;Cleaning object;Cleaning agents;Lubricant;Ultrasonic intensity


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Cited by

  1. Recovery of Zirconium from Spent Pickling Acid through Precipitation Using BaF2 and Electrowinning in Fluoride Molten Salt vol.26, pp.12, 2016,
  2. Electrowinning of Nuclear-Grade Zr from Ba 2 ZrF 8 –ZrF 4 Salt System vol.165, pp.2, 2018,


Supported by : 지식경제부