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Title: Nuclear Waste and Fuel Cycle Activities.


Abstract not provided.

Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Sandia National Lab. (SNL-NM), Albuquerque, NM (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Nuclear Energy (NE), Fuel Cycle Technologies (NE-5)
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Resource Relation:
Conference: Proposed for presentation at the Visit of Dr. Jean-Yves LE DEAUT and Colleagues (French government) held March 13, 2015 in Albuquerque, NM.
Country of Publication:
United States

Citation Formats

Hardin, Ernest. Nuclear Waste and Fuel Cycle Activities.. United States: N. p., 2015. Web.
Hardin, Ernest. Nuclear Waste and Fuel Cycle Activities.. United States.
Hardin, Ernest. 2015. "Nuclear Waste and Fuel Cycle Activities.". United States. doi:.
title = {Nuclear Waste and Fuel Cycle Activities.},
author = {Hardin, Ernest},
abstractNote = {Abstract not provided.},
doi = {},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = 2015,
month = 3

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  • Recent nuclear safeguards inspections by IAEA personnel have led to the conclusion that there is a need for proven environmental sampling and monitoring techniques that complement traditional IAEA safeguards inspection tools. These techniques and technologies can aid in verifying operations as declared and in monitoring for undeclared nuclear fuel cycle/nuclear weapons-related operations. Environmental monitoring is a relatively new mission of the IAEA. It carries broad United Nations support following the discovery in Iraq of undeclared nuclear weapons design and materials production activities. Many of the environmental monitoring techniques and technologies that have been developed in the US and internationally withinmore » the last decade could possibly be adapted for use in international safeguards inspections. Techniques designed to measure or monitor unique organic/inorganic signatures from nuclear materials production or weapons manufacturing effluents in air, water, and soil have not yet been evaluated for use as complementary safeguards tools. These techniques are used by industry to locate and detect environmental contamination and the source of such contamination. These same commercially available techniques and methods, if properly adapted to the task of inspecting, monitoring, and searching for nuclear fuel cycle/weapons production activities, can greatly increase the likelihood of success in concluding that operations are as declared and that clandestine operations do not exist or have not resumed. Any new techniques must allow for the detection of a ``smoking gun`` that indicates past or recent clandestine activities. This paper discusses a recent study undertaken to determine the applicability of existing techniques to international nuclear safeguards inspections. The preparation of a catalog of environmental monitoring techniques and the applications of environmental monitoring techniques to the international safeguards mission are also described.« less
  • Nuclear power has demonstrated over the last 30 years its capacity to produce base-load electricity at a low, predictable and stable cost due to the very low economic dependence on the price of uranium. However the management of used nuclear fuel remains the “Achilles’ Heel” of this energy source since the storage of used nuclear fuel is increasing as evidenced by the following number with 2,000 tons of UNF produced each year by the 104 US nuclear reactor units which equates to a total of 62,000 spent fuel assemblies stored in dry cask and 88,000 stored in pools. Two optionsmore » adopted by several countries will be presented. The first one adopted by Europe, Japan and Russia consists of recycling the used nuclear fuel after irradiation in a nuclear reactor. Ninety six percent of uranium and plutonium contained in the spent fuel could be reused to produce electricity and are worth recycling. The separation of uranium and plutonium from the wastes is realized through the industrial PUREX process so that they can be recycled for re-use in a nuclear reactor as a mixed oxide (MOX) fuel. The second option undertaken by Finland, Sweden and the United States implies the direct disposal of used nuclear fuel into a geologic formation. One has to remind that only 30% of the worldwide used nuclear fuel are currently recycled, the larger part being stored (90% in pool) waiting for scientific or political decisions. A third option is emerging with a closed fuel cycle which will improve the global sustainability of nuclear energy. This option will not only decrease the volume amount of nuclear waste but also the long-term radiotoxicity of the final waste, as well as improving the long-term safety and the heat-loading of the final repository. At the present time, numerous countries are focusing on the R&D recycling activities of the ultimate waste composed of fission products and minor actinides (americium and curium). Several new chemical extraction processes, such as TRUSPEAK, EXAM, or LUCA processes are pursued worldwide and their approaches will be highlighted.« less
  • Traditionally, IAEA inspectors have focused on the detection of nuclear indicators as part of infield inspection activities. The ability to rapidly detect and identify chemical as well as nuclear signatures can increase the ability of IAEA inspectors to detect undeclared activities at a site. Identification of chemical indicators have been limited to use in the analysis of environmental samples. Although IAEA analytical laboratories are highly effective, environmental sample processing does not allow for immediate or real-time results to an IAEA inspector at a facility. During a complementary access inspection, under the Additional Protocol, the use of fieldable technologies that canmore » quickly provide accurate information on chemicals that may be indicative of undeclared activities can increase the ability of IAEA to effectively and efficiently complete their mission. The Complementary Access Working Group (CAWG) is a multi-laboratory team with members from Brookhaven National Laboratory, Idaho National Laboratory, Los Alamos National Laboratory, and Sandia National Laboratory. The team identified chemicals at each stage of the nuclear fuel cycle that may provide IAEA inspectors with indications that proliferation activities may be occurring. The group eliminated all indicators related to equipment, technology and training, developing a list of by-products/effluents, non-nuclear materials, nuclear materials, and other observables. These proliferation indicators were prioritized based on detectability from a conduct of operations (CONOPS) perspective of a CA inspection (for example, whether an inspector actually can access the S&O or whether it is in process with no physical access), and the IAEA’s interest in the detection technology in conjunction with radiation detectors. The list was consolidated to general categories (nuclear materials from a chemical detection technique, inorganic chemicals, organic chemicals, halogens, and miscellaneous materials). The team then identified commercial off the shelf (COTS) chemical detectors that may detect the chemicals of interest. Three chemical detectors were selected and tested both in laboratory settings and in field operations settings at Idaho National Laboratory. The instruments selected are: Thermo Scientific TruDefender FT (FTIR), Thermo Scientific FirstDefender RM (Raman), and Bruker Tracer III SD (XRF). Functional specifications, operability, and chemical detectability, selectivity, and limits of detection were determined. Results from the laboratory and field tests will be presented. This work is supported by the Next Generation Safeguards Initiative, Office of Nonproliferation and International Security, National Nuclear Security Administration.« less