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Title: Method for disposing of radioactive graphite and silicon carbide in graphite fuel elements

Method is described for destroying radioactive graphite and silicon carbide in fuel elements containing small spheres of uranium oxide coated with silicon carbide in a graphite matrix, by treating the graphite fuel elements in a molten salt bath in the presence of air, the salt bath comprising molten sodium-based salts such as sodium carbonate and a small amount of sodium sulfate as catalyst, or calcium-based salts such as calcium chloride and a small amount of calcium sulfate as catalyst, while maintaining the salt bath in a temperature range of about 950 to about 1,100 C. As a further feature of the invention, large radioactive graphite fuel elements, e.g. of the above composition, can be processed to oxidize the graphite and silicon carbide, by introducing the fuel element into a reaction vessel having downwardly and inwardly sloping sides, the fuel element being of a size such that it is supported in the vessel at a point above the molten salt bath therein. Air is bubbled through the bath, causing it to expand and wash the bottom of the fuel element to cause reaction and destruction of the fuel element as it gradually disintegrates and falls into the molten bath. 4 figs.
Authors:
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
131949
Report Number(s):
US 5,449,505/A/
PAN: US patent application 8-108,264; TRN: 96:004567
Resource Type:
Patent
Resource Relation:
Other Information: PBD: 12 Sep 1995
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
05 NUCLEAR FUELS; GRAPHITE; RADIOACTIVE WASTE PROCESSING; OXIDATION; SILICON CARBIDES; FUEL ELEMENTS; DECOMPOSITION; MOLTEN SALTS