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Thursday, August 20, 2009
09:30 AM - 11:00 AM
CNLS Conference Room (TA-3, Bldg 1690)

Seminar

Spent Nuclear Fuel Pyroprocessing

Michael Simpson
Idaho National Laboratory

Spent nuclear fuel originally from the Experimental Breeder Reactor-II is currently being treated via a technology termed pyroprocessing at Idaho National Laboratory. This fuel is a sodium-bonded, metal fuel that is not suitable for direct disposal due to the high chemical reactivity of the sodium. Pyroprocessing effectively stabilizes the sodium by converting it into sodium chloride while also separating a relatively pure metallic U product that can be used in either new fuel pins or disposed of as non-high level waste. Fission products segregate into one of two high level waste forms-the ceramic waste form or the metal waste form. Transuranic actinides can be co-collected with uranium using a special cathode consisting of molten cadmium. The option exists to either recycle these actinides for fast reactor fuel fabrication or divert them into the waste streams. A comprehensive description of the flowsheet and key unit operations will be presented. Notable recent research findings will be discussed that are expected to lead to improvement in the process both in the way of adding new functionality to the process and improving the existing unit operations.

Host: Marianne Francois