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Title: Radioactive Semivolatiles in Nuclear Fuel Reprocessing

In nuclear fuel reprocessing, various radioactive elements enter the gas phase from the unit operations found in the reprocessing facility. In previous reports, the pathways and required removal were discussed for four radionuclides known to be volatile, 14C, 3H, 129I, and 85Kr. Other, less volatile isotopes can also report to the off-gas streams in a reprocessing facility. These were reported to be isotopes of Cs, Cd, Ru, Sb, Tc, and Te. In this report, an effort is made to determine which, if any, of 24 semivolatile radionuclides could be released from a reprocessing plant and, if so, what would be the likely quantities released. As part of this study of semivolatile elements, the amount of each generated during fission is included as part of the assessment for the need to control their emission. Also included in this study is the assessment of the cooling time (time out of reactor) before the fuel is processed. This aspect is important for the short-lived isotopes shown in the list, especially for cooling times approaching 10 y. The approach taken in this study was to determine if semivolatile radionuclides need to be included in a list of gas-phase radionuclides that might need to bemore » removed to meet Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) regulations. A list of possible elements was developed through a literature search and through knowledge and literature on the chemical processes in typical aqueous processing of nuclear fuels. A long list of possible radionuclides present in irradiated fuel was generated and then trimmed by considering isotope half-life and calculating the dose from each to a maximum exposed individual with the US EPA airborne radiological dispersion and risk assessment code CAP88 (Rosnick 1992) to yield a short list of elements that actually need to be considered for control because they require high decontamination factors to meet a reasonable fraction of the regulated release. Each of these elements is then discussed with respect to what is known in the literature about their behavior in a reprocessing facility. The context for the evaluation in this document is a UO2-based fuel processed through an aqueous-based reprocessing system with a TBP-based solvent extraction chemistry. None of these elements form sufficiently volatile compounds in the context of the reprocessing facility to be of regulatory concern.« less
 [1] ;  [2] ;  [1] ;  [1] ;  [3]
  1. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
  2. Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States)
  3. Idaho National Lab. (INL), Idaho Falls, ID (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
Idaho National Laboratory (INL), Idaho Falls, ID (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Nuclear Energy (NE)
Country of Publication:
United States
11 NUCLEAR FUEL CYCLE AND FUEL MATERIALS semivolatile radionuclides; used fuel reprocessing