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Title: Storage and Reprocessing of Spent Nuclear Fuel


Addressing the problem of waste, especially high-level waste (HLW), is a requirement of the nuclear fuel cycle that cannot be ignored. We explore the two options employed currently, long-term storage and reprocessing.

  1. Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), Office of Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation (NA-20)
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
TRN: US1701913
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Country of Publication:
United States

Citation Formats

Karpius, Peter Joseph. Storage and Reprocessing of Spent Nuclear Fuel. United States: N. p., 2017. Web. doi:10.2172/1342848.
Karpius, Peter Joseph. Storage and Reprocessing of Spent Nuclear Fuel. United States. doi:10.2172/1342848.
Karpius, Peter Joseph. Thu . "Storage and Reprocessing of Spent Nuclear Fuel". United States. doi:10.2172/1342848.
title = {Storage and Reprocessing of Spent Nuclear Fuel},
author = {Karpius, Peter Joseph},
abstractNote = {Addressing the problem of waste, especially high-level waste (HLW), is a requirement of the nuclear fuel cycle that cannot be ignored. We explore the two options employed currently, long-term storage and reprocessing.},
doi = {10.2172/1342848},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {Thu Feb 02 00:00:00 EST 2017},
month = {Thu Feb 02 00:00:00 EST 2017}

Technical Report:

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  • With regard to the specific question embodied in California's nuclear statutes about the demonstrated and approved permanent terminal disposal of nuclear waste (assuming that the reprocessing question is now most for legislative purposes), the finding of the Energy Commission is that such a technology has not been demonstrated and that it is even questionable to assume that one will be demonstrated before the mid 1980s. Following upon this finding and addressing the broader question of continued implementation of the policy expressed by the nuclear fuel cycle statutes, the evidence indicates that it is not prudent to continue siting nuclear powerplantsmore » based on an optimistic assumption that waste management technologies to handle nuclear waste will be developed and scientifically demonstrated. The California Legislature has questioned that optimistic assumption by placing the burden of proof on the developers of a demonstrated, scientifically tested process for the permanent and terminal disposal of nuclear wastes. Such a process does not exist at this time. There are many who are optimistic that the development of such a technology will become a reality in the near future. This overview and the supporting report indicate that this optimism is not warranted. Weapons proliferation and degradation of the biosphere by radioactive waste have proved to be unanticipated, difficult and possibly intractable problems in spite of an overriding confidence that nuclear technology would not present such problems. On the basis of the evidence received by this Commission, there are substantial scientific gaps which preclude proceeding on the basis of faith that all the attendant risks and issues will be resolved.« less
  • This report describes a study of nuclear power economics in Russia. It addresses political and institutional background factors which constrain Russia's energy choices in the short and intermediate run. In the approach developed here, political and institutional factors might dominate short-term decisions, but the comparative costs of Russia's fuel-cycle options are likely to constrain her long-term energy strategy. To this end, the authors have also formulated a set of policy questions which should be addressed using a quantitative decision modeling which analyzes economic costs for all major components of different fuel cycle options, including the evolution of uranium prices.
  • The facility will have the capability to handle spent fuel assemblies containing 10 MTHM/day, with 30% if the fuel received in legal weight truck (LWT) casks and the remaining fuel received in rail casks. The storage capacity will be about 30% of the annual throughput of the reprocessing plant. This size will provide space for a working inventory of about 50 days plant throughput and empty storage space to receive any fuel that might be in transit of the reprocessing plant should have an outage. Spent LWR fuel assemblies outside the confines of the shipping cask will be handled andmore » stored underwater. To permit drainage, each water pool will be designed so that it can be isolated from the remaining pools. Pool water quality will be controlled by a filter-deionizer system. Radioactivity in the water will be maintained at less than or equal to 2 x 10/sup -4/ Ci/m/sup 3/; conductivity will be maintained at 1 to 2 The temperature of the pool water will be maintained at less than or equal to 40/sup 0/C to retard algae growth and reduce evaporation. Decay heat will be transferred to the environment via a heat exchanger-cooling tower system.« less
  • This report evaluated the effect of various spent fuel storage methods on the operations of a nuclear fuel reprocessing plant. A survey was made of the various techniques being considered to expand at-reactor storage capacity and their effect on fuel integrity. Variations of these techniques employ dry storage, fuel assembly canistering, and rod consolidation. The fuel receipt operations and chemical plant procedures developed for the Barnwell Nuclear Fuel Plant were used as a basis for comparison. The study examined areas of possible incompatibility between reprocessing operations and the proposed storage methods. The results show that storage of fuel for nominallymore » 10 years or more prior to reprocessing is generally advantageous from the standpoint of plant maintenance, waste disposal, and reprocessing plant operation. Extended storage is not expected to increase the incidence of failed fuel. However, reprocessing plants do have equipment limits which must be considered by the designers of fuel storage processes. In particular, the implementation of certain fuel canistering concepts could effectively preclude fuel receipt at the reprocessing plant. Technical guidelines are included, which serve as guidance to engineers who are involved in evaluating new spent fuel storage concepts.« less
  • In April 1977 the President deferred indefinitely the commercial reprocessing of nuclear spent fuel to: (1) minimize the availability of plutonium and (2) reduce the risks of nuclear weapons proliferation. To carry out the policy, the President proposed that neither Federal funding nor support should be given to complete a large commercial reprocessing facility being constructed at Barnwell, South Carolina. Later in 1977 the Department of Energy announced that the Federal Government would, at some unspecified future date, begin accepting and taking title to spent nuclear fuel that previously was to be reprocessed. GAO concludes that: (1) Federal funding ofmore » short-term research activities at the Barnwell reprocessing plant should continue until the completion of a major international study of alternative fuel cycle technologies and (2) the Department of Energy should not build a Government financed spent fuel storage facility until other alternatives are fully explored and the work of an interagency task force on waste management is completed.« less