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Electrochemical Modeling of Copper Electrorefining in Lab Scale and Pilot Plant Scale

D. Sujish[1], Jinimol Joy[1], B. Muralidharan[1], G. Padmakumar [1], K.K. Rajan[1]
[1]Fast Reactor Technology Group, Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research, Kalpakkam, India

Pyrochemical reprocessing is a non-aqueous method for reprocessing spent metallic fuels. Electrorefining is an important step in pyrochemical reprocessing. Ambient temperature electrorefiner (ATER) is a facility to demonstrate the various mechanisms and associated interlocks. Here the electrolysis of copper in acidified copper sulphate electrolyte will be carried out to demonstrate the electrorefining process. Laboratory scale experiments were also conducted to understand the copper electrorefining process. Electrodeposition of copper was also numerically simulated using COMSOL Multiphysics®. The experimental and theoretical current densities for various operating conditions were compared, and there was close agreement. The current density for the cathode geometry and the time required for deposition of one batch of copper was also estimated.