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Title: NUCLEAR ISOTOPIC DILUTION OF HIGHLY ENRICHED URANIUM BY DRY BLENDING VIA THE RM-2 MILL TECHNOLOGY

DOE has initiated numerous activities to focus on identifying material management strategies to disposition various excess fissile materials. In particular the INEEL has stored 1,700 Kg of offspec HEU at INTEC in CPP-651 vault facility. Currently, the proposed strategies for dispositioning are (a) aqueous dissolution and down blending to LEU via facilities at SRS followed by shipment of the liquid LEU to NFS for fabrication into LWR fuel for the TVA reactors and (b) dilution of the HEU to 0.9% for discard as a waste stream that would no longer have a criticality or proliferation risk without being processed through some type of enrichment system. Dispositioning this inventory as a waste stream via aqueous processing at SRS has been determined to be too costly. Thus, dry blending is the only proposed disposal process for the uranium oxide materials in the CPP-651 vault. Isotopic dilution of HEU to typically less than 20% by dry blending is the key to solving the dispositioning issue (i.e., proliferation) posed by HEU stored at INEEL. RM-2 mill is a technology developed and successfully tested for producing ultra-fine particles by dry grinding. Grinding action in RM-2 mill produces a two million-fold increase in the number ofmore » particles being blended in a centrifugal field. In a previous study, the concept of achieving complete and adequate blending and mixing (i.e., no methods were identified to easily separate and concentrate one titanium compound from the other) in remarkably short processing times was successfully tested with surrogate materials (titanium dioxide and titanium mono-oxide) with different particle sizes, hardness and densities. In the current project, the RM-2 milling technology was thoroughly tested with mixtures of natural uranium oxide (NU) and depleted uranium oxide (DU) stock to prove its performance. The effects of mill operating and design variables on the blending of NU/DU oxides were evaluated. First, NU and DU both made of the same oxide, UO{sub 3}, was used in the testing. Next, NU made up of UO{sub 3} and DU made up of UO{sub 2} was used in the test work. In every test, the blend achieved was characterized by spatial sampling of the ground product and analyzing for {sup 235}U concentration. The test work proved that these uranium oxide materials can be blended successfully. The spatial concentration was found to be uniform. Next, sintered thorium oxide pellets were used as surrogate for light water breeder reactor pellets (LWBR). To simulate LWBR pellet dispositioning, the thorium oxide pellets were first ground to a powder form and then the powder was blended with NU. In these tests also the concentration of {sup 235}U and {sup 232}Th in blended products fell within established limits proving the success of RM-2 milling technology. RM-2 milling technology is applicable to any dry radioactive waste, especially brittle solids that can be ground up and mixed with the non-radioactive stock.« less
Authors:
; ; ; ; ;
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
824876
DOE Contract Number:
AC26-01NT41312
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Resource Relation:
Other Information: PBD: 1 Aug 2003
Research Org:
University of Utah (US)
Sponsoring Org:
(US)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
11 NUCLEAR FUEL CYCLE AND FUEL MATERIALS; 12 MANAGEMENT OF RADIOACTIVE WASTES, AND NON-RADIOACTIVE WASTES FROM NUCLEAR FACILITIES; 21 SPECIFIC NUCLEAR REACTORS AND ASSOCIATED PLANTS; BREEDER REACTORS; DEPLETED URANIUM; DILUTION; FISSILE MATERIALS; HIGHLY ENRICHED URANIUM; NATURAL URANIUM; PARTICLE SIZE; RADIOACTIVE WASTES; THORIUM OXIDES; TITANIUM COMPOUNDS; URANIUM OXIDES