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Title: Radioactive Iodine and Krypton Control for Nuclear Fuel Reprocessing Facilities

Nuclear fission results in the production of fission products and activation products, some of which tend to be volatile during used fuel reprocessing. These can evolve in volatile species in the reprocessing facility off-gas streams, depending on the separations and reprocessing technologies that are used. Radionuclides that have been identified as “volatile radionuclides” are noble gases (most notably isotopes of Kr and Xe); 3H; 14C; and 129I. Radionuclides that tend to form volatile species that evolve into reprocessing facility off-gas systems are more challenging to efficiently control compared to radionuclides that tend to stay in solid or liquid phases. Future used fuel reprocessing facilities in the United States can require efficient capture of some volatile radionuclides in their off-gas streams to meet regulatory emission requirements. In aqueous reprocessing, these radionuclides are most commonly expected to evolve into off-gas streams in tritiated water [3H2O (T2O) and 3HHO (THO)], radioactive CO2, noble gases, and gaseous HI, I2, or volatile organic iodides. The fate and speciation of these radionuclides from a non-aqueous fuel reprocessing facility is less well known at this time, but active investigations are in progress. An Off-Gas Sigma Team was formed in late FY 2009 to integrate and coordinate themore » Fuel Cycle Research and Development (FCR&D) activities directed towards the capture and sequestration of the these volatile radionuclides (Jubin 2012a). The Sigma Team concept was envisioned to bring together multidisciplinary teams from across the DOE complex that would work collaboratively to solve the technical challenges and to develop the scientific basis for the capture and immobilization technologies such that the sum of the efforts was greater than the individual parts. The Laboratories currently participating in this effort are Argonne National Laboratory (ANL), Idaho National Laboratory (INL), Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), and Sandia National Laboratories (SNL). This article focuses on control of volatile radionuclides that evolve during aqueous reprocessing of UNF. In particular, most of the work by the Off-gas Sigma Team has focused on the capture and sequestration of 129I and 85Kr, mainly because, as discussed below, control of 129I can require high efficiencies to meet regulatory requirements, and control of 85Kr using cryogenic processing, which has been the technology demonstrated and used commercially to date, can add considerable cost to a reprocessing facility.« less
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Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 1687-6083; AF5805010
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Science and Technology of Nuclear Installations (Online); Journal Volume: 2013
Research Org:
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Richland, WA (US)
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States