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Title: Management of Salt Waste from Electrochemical Processing of Used Nuclear Fuel

Electrochemical processing of used nuclear fuel involves operation of one or more cells containing molten salt electrolyte. Processing of the fuel results in contamination of the salt via accumulation of fission products and transuranic (TRU) actinides. Upon reaching contamination limits, the salt must be removed and either disposed or treated to remove the contaminants and recycled back to the process. During development of the Experimental Breeder Reactor-II spent fuel treatment process, waste salt from the electrorefiner was to be stabilized in a ceramic waste form and disposed of in a high-level waste repository. With the cancellation of the Yucca Mountain high-level waste repository, other options are now being considered. One approach that involves direct disposal of the salt in a geologic salt formation has been evaluated. While waste forms such as the ceramic provide near-term resistance to corrosion, they may not be necessary to ensure adequate performance of the repository. To improve the feasibility of direct disposal, recycling a substantial fraction of the useful salt back to the process equipment could minimize the volume of the waste. Experiments have been run in which a cold finger is used for this purpose to crystallize LiCl from LiCl/CsCl. If it is foundmore » to be unsuitable for transportation, the salt waste could also be immobilized in zeolite without conversion to the ceramic waste form.« less
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Conference: Global 2013,Salt Lake City, Utah,09/29/2013,10/03/2013
Research Org:
Idaho National Laboratory (INL)
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Country of Publication:
United States
11 NUCLEAR FUEL CYCLE AND FUEL MATERIALS molten salt; pyroprocessing; waste