The cathode processor (CP) is a vacuum retort and heavy metal consolidation furnace. It is installed in the Fuel Conditioning Facility (FCF) argon cell. The furnace is bottom loading, so the vessel is mounted on top of a pedestal. A track system translates the furnace internals underneath the vessel and then lifts them up to seal to the bottom of the vessel. The CP uses high temperature vacuum distillation to remove and collect the salt from the electrorefiner cathode product, which is then returned to the electrorefiner (ER) for reuse. The remaining heavy metal in the cathode product is consolidated and downblended into an ingot. The ingot is then transferred to the casting furnace for final downblending and sampling.
The CP is used to separate cadmium and salt materials from the ER cathode product and consolidate the remaining heavy metals into an ingot of size and shape useful for processing by the casting furnace.
Crucible temperature: 1,400 °C
Vessel wall temperature: 600 °C
Vessel vacuum: 100 mTorr
Induction power supply: 15 kW