Advanced Access to Unsymmetric Tridentate Complexants for Utilization in Spent Nuclear Fuel Remediation


  • Gabrielle Waters


Radioactive waste mitigation is a critical component of the nuclear fuel cycle, but largely remains inefficient and expensive. To combat this reality, developments in separations techniques that decrease the amount and toxicity of generated waste are highly sought after. Contemporary techniques are rooted in liquid-liquid extractions via a chelating agent and a radioactive ion such as Americium. This lab focuses on synthesizing nitrogen-containing, Lewis-basic, chelating scaffolds for use in separation processes. Such compounds need to be resistant to acidic environments and soluble in nonpolar organic solvents. Previous synthons in the lab have consisted of durable pyridine and triazine derivatives, but solubility assays in process relevant solvents highlight the need for additional exploration. Current strategies focus on improving solubility through unsymmetric functionalization that leads to topographical changes of the ligand and solvent interaction, in situ. One avenue for investigation involves Kornblum type oxidation of an MTP derivative followed by oxime formation, tosylation and elimination to afford a carbonitrile that can then form a 1,2,4-triazine through previously established methods. An alternative route for exploration involves oxidative cyclization with benzamidines to afford terpy-like complexants which offer another type of bonding array for ions not previously explored. Preliminary optimization and substrate screening for these reaction pathways towards unsymmetric compounds, or previously unreported compounds will be presented.