Here, we highlight some recent accomplishments in f-element coordination chemistry aimed at probing the fundamental chemical differences between the 4f elements, lanthanides, and the 5f elements, actinides. The studies of particular interest are those that target improving our knowledge of fundamental chemistry to aid in increased selectivity for extractions of actinides. Two components key to understanding the challenges of actinide separations are detailed here, namely, previously described separation methods and recent investigations into the fundamental coordination chemistry of actinides. Both are aimed at probing the critical features necessary for improved selectivity of separations. This is considered a critical goal in the safe remediation of contaminated sites and reprocessing of nuclear fuel sources used in either civilian and noncivilian energy production.