Separation of americium from curium by oxidation and ion exchange.
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Nuclear energy has the potential to be a clean alternative to fossil fuels, but in order for it to play a major role in the US, many questions about the back end of the fuel cycle must be addressed. One of these questions is the difficult separation of americium from curium. Here, we report the oxidation of Am in two systems, perchloric acid and nitric acid and the affect of changing the acid has on the oxidation. K(d) values were observed and a direct separation factor was calculated and was seen to be as high as 20 for four metal(IV) pillared phosphate phosphonate inorganic organic hybrid ion exchange materials. These ion exchangers are characterized by very low selectivity for cations with low charge but extremely high uptake of ions of high charge.