The Nuclear Fuel Cycle in the U.S.: What Are the Options?

AIChE Webinar
Originally delivered Sep 11, 2013

Chris Phillips describes both reprocessing and long term storage as complementary ways of dealing with the used nuclear fuel (UNF) from the US's nuclear reactors, which currently amounts to almost 70,000 tons and which is increasing at about 2,000 tons/year. He also explains the Conceptual Design, Technology Roadmap and Business Plan that EnergySolutions has produced for a US UNF reprocessing, new fuel fabrication and waste treatment facility, and how this could be built and operated economically in the US, given access to the US nuclear waste fund, and how it could be further developed to deal with UNF from future US fast reactors, if these are ultimately adopted .

Candido Pereira provides an overview of the nuclear fuel cycle and possible future directions for sustainable nuclear power production with an emphasis on chemical processing and recycle. The presentation covers the basic fuel cycle operations, advanced concepts and options, and the objectives and drivers for future development. The emphasis is on technologies that enable recycle of the long-lived fissionable radionuclides present in used nuclear fuel to fuel advanced reactors with the concommitant disposition of fission products in superior waste-disposal forms.  He discusses technologies currently under development to support different fuel cycle options using the recent work in advanced separations at Argonne National Laboratory as illustration.

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