Objectives, Strategies, and Challenges for the Advanced Fuel Cycle Initiative [electronic resource].
- Washington, D.C. : United States. Office of the Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy, 2005.
Oak Ridge, Tenn. : Distributed by the Office of Scientific and Technical Information, U.S. Dept. of Energy.
- Additional Creators:
- Idaho National Laboratory
United States. Office of the Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy
United States. Department of Energy. Office of Scientific and Technical Information
- This paper will summarize the objectives, strategies, and key chemical separation challenges for the Advanced Fuel Cycle Initiative (AFCI). The major objectives are as follows: Waste management - defer the need for a second geologic repository for a century or more, Proliferation resistance - be more resistant than the existing PUREX separation technology or uranium enrichment, Energy sustainability - turn waste management liabilities into energy source assets to ensure that uranium ore resources do not become a constraint on nuclear power, and Systematic, safe, and economic management of the entire fuel cycle. There are four major strategies for the disposal of civilian spent fuel: Once-through - direct disposal of all discharged nuclear fuel, Limited recycle - recycle transuranic elements once and then direct disposal, Continuous recycle - recycle transuranic elements repeatedly, and Sustained recycle - same as continuous except previously discarded depleted uranium is also recycled. The key chemical separation challenges stem from the fact that the components of spent nuclear fuel vary greatly in their influence on achieving program objectives. Most options separate uranium to reduce the weight and volume of waste and the number and cost of waste packages that require geologic disposal. Separated uranium can also be used as reactor fuel. Most options provide means to recycle transuranic (TRU) elements - plutonium (Pu), neptunium (Np), americium (Am), curium (Cm). Plutonium must be recycled to obtain repository, proliferation, and energy recovery benefits. U.S. non-proliferation policy forbids separation of plutonium by itself; therefore, one or more of the other transuranic elements must be kept with the plutonium; neptunium is considered the easiest option. Recycling neptunium also provides repository benefits. Americium recycling is also required to obtain repository benefits. At the present time, curium recycle provides relatively little benefit; indeed, recycling curium in thermal reactors would significantly increase the hazard (hence cost) of the resulting fuel. Most options separate short-lived fission products cesium and strontium to allow them to decay in separate storage facilities tailored to that need, rather than complicate long-term geologic disposal. This can also reduce the number and cost of waste packages requiring geologic disposal. These savings are balanced by costs for separation and recycle systems. Several long-lived fission products, such as technetium-99 and iodine-129 go to geologic disposal in improved waste forms, recognizing that transmutation of these isotopes would be a slow process; however, the program has not precluded their transmutation as a future alternative.
- Published through SciTech Connect.
Symposium in the Division of Nuclear Engineering entitled “Chemical Engineering Advances in the Nucl,Atlanta, George,04/10/2005,04/14/2005.
J. D. Smith; Roald Wigeland; Robert Hill; Steven Piet; David Shropshire; Brent Dixon; Erich Schneider.
- Funding Information:
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