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Title: A Proposed Path Forward for Transportation of High-Assay Low-Enriched Uranium

Abstract

Many of the advanced reactors that are being designed will use high-assay low-enriched uranium (HALEU) as the reactor fuel. HALEU is fuel that is enriched between 5% – 20% uranium-235. With the change to higher enriched material, the industry will have new challenges with the development and regulatory approval of enrichment and fuel fabrication facilities and suitable transportation packages to support the economic use of HALEU materials. One area of concern relates to ensure sub-criticality of the material during transportation as identified by the Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI). To evaluate the relevant work, experts, and industry perspectives on HALEU, a workshop was organized to share relevant experience and insights into HALEU transportation, handling, and management. At the August 30 and 31, 2018 workshop, NEI and industry provided the following recommendations to DOE and the national lab complex. 1. DOE and the lab complex should communicate and educate the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) on criticality issues related to HALEU. 2. Idaho National Laboratory (INL) should support work needed to certify package design for the transportation of HALEU. a. Suggest amending the Certificate of Compliance of an existing package used for the shipment of commercial quantities. b. Suggest DOE provide funding tomore » package designer(s) for analysis and engineering work for a package to be submitted to NRC for approval. 3. INL should provide specific, or a range, of the expected impurities that will be present in recycled naval fuel. 4. In the longer term, DOE and the lab complex should increase the availability of criticality benchmark data to further reduce conservatism in package design. In addition, a couple key takeaways were identified, including: 1. Although the labs can provide additional criticality experiments, industry has enough data to license facilities, overpacks, and cylinders. Validation from additional critical experiments to establish less uncertainty in the benchmarks will be helpful. 2. A collective effort from industry is needed to express consistency on how much information exists or is needed related to criticality. Based on interactions with industry, DOE, and national laboratories, it appears that large-volume transportation of fresh HALEU appears feasible from a criticality perspective. Specifically, an initial review of applicable criticality benchmark experiments identified numerous applicable experiments. However, a more thorough review of a realistic transportation package design is suggested. Therefore, the following next steps are proposed: 1. Evaluate a large volume package with uranium dioxide enriched to 20%. Specifically, the GNF-A NPC package was proposed as a potentially viable option. 2. Based on the results of (1), determine if additional package designs and fuel material should be evaluated. 3. Based on the results of (1), determine if additional criticality experiments would be beneficial to improve the margins for criticality due to uncertainties. 4. Determine DOE transportation needs (packages sizes, shielding requirements, handling/operational requirements, and timing of availability) related to HALEU. 5. Continue to interface with NEI and interested industry companies to determine the appropriate time to engage the NRC.« less

Authors:
ORCiD logo [1]
  1. Idaho National Laboratory
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Idaho National Lab. (INL), Idaho Falls, ID (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Nuclear Energy (NE)
OSTI Identifier:
1560862
Report Number(s):
INL/EXT-18-51518-Rev001
DOE Contract Number:  
AC07-05ID14517
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
11 - NUCLEAR FUEL CYCLE AND FUEL MATERIALS; High-assay low-enriched uranium; Nuclear Material Transportation; Criticality; Criticality Benchmark

Citation Formats

Jarrell, Josh J. A Proposed Path Forward for Transportation of High-Assay Low-Enriched Uranium. United States: N. p., 2018. Web. doi:10.2172/1560862.
Jarrell, Josh J. A Proposed Path Forward for Transportation of High-Assay Low-Enriched Uranium. United States. doi:10.2172/1560862.
Jarrell, Josh J. Thu . "A Proposed Path Forward for Transportation of High-Assay Low-Enriched Uranium". United States. doi:10.2172/1560862. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1560862.
@article{osti_1560862,
title = {A Proposed Path Forward for Transportation of High-Assay Low-Enriched Uranium},
author = {Jarrell, Josh J},
abstractNote = {Many of the advanced reactors that are being designed will use high-assay low-enriched uranium (HALEU) as the reactor fuel. HALEU is fuel that is enriched between 5% – 20% uranium-235. With the change to higher enriched material, the industry will have new challenges with the development and regulatory approval of enrichment and fuel fabrication facilities and suitable transportation packages to support the economic use of HALEU materials. One area of concern relates to ensure sub-criticality of the material during transportation as identified by the Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI). To evaluate the relevant work, experts, and industry perspectives on HALEU, a workshop was organized to share relevant experience and insights into HALEU transportation, handling, and management. At the August 30 and 31, 2018 workshop, NEI and industry provided the following recommendations to DOE and the national lab complex. 1. DOE and the lab complex should communicate and educate the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) on criticality issues related to HALEU. 2. Idaho National Laboratory (INL) should support work needed to certify package design for the transportation of HALEU. a. Suggest amending the Certificate of Compliance of an existing package used for the shipment of commercial quantities. b. Suggest DOE provide funding to package designer(s) for analysis and engineering work for a package to be submitted to NRC for approval. 3. INL should provide specific, or a range, of the expected impurities that will be present in recycled naval fuel. 4. In the longer term, DOE and the lab complex should increase the availability of criticality benchmark data to further reduce conservatism in package design. In addition, a couple key takeaways were identified, including: 1. Although the labs can provide additional criticality experiments, industry has enough data to license facilities, overpacks, and cylinders. Validation from additional critical experiments to establish less uncertainty in the benchmarks will be helpful. 2. A collective effort from industry is needed to express consistency on how much information exists or is needed related to criticality. Based on interactions with industry, DOE, and national laboratories, it appears that large-volume transportation of fresh HALEU appears feasible from a criticality perspective. Specifically, an initial review of applicable criticality benchmark experiments identified numerous applicable experiments. However, a more thorough review of a realistic transportation package design is suggested. Therefore, the following next steps are proposed: 1. Evaluate a large volume package with uranium dioxide enriched to 20%. Specifically, the GNF-A NPC package was proposed as a potentially viable option. 2. Based on the results of (1), determine if additional package designs and fuel material should be evaluated. 3. Based on the results of (1), determine if additional criticality experiments would be beneficial to improve the margins for criticality due to uncertainties. 4. Determine DOE transportation needs (packages sizes, shielding requirements, handling/operational requirements, and timing of availability) related to HALEU. 5. Continue to interface with NEI and interested industry companies to determine the appropriate time to engage the NRC.},
doi = {10.2172/1560862},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {2018},
month = {9}
}

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