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A CONCEPTUAL STUDY OF PYROPROCESSING FOR RECOVERING ACTINIDES FROM SPENT OXIDE FUELS

  • Published : 2008.12.31

Abstract

In this study, a conceptual pyroprocess flowsheet has been devised by combining several dry-type unit processes; its applicability as an alternative fuel cycle technology was analyzed. A key point in the evaluation of its applicability to the fuel cycle was the recovery yield of fissile materials from spent fuels as well as the proliferation resistance of the process. The recovery yields of uranium and transuranic elements (TRU) were obtained from a material balance for every unit process composing the whole pyroprocess. The material balances for several elemental groups of interest such as uranium, TRU, rare earth, gaseous fission products, and heat generating elements were calculated on the basis of the knowledge base that is available from domestic and foreign experimental results or technical information presented in open literature. The calculated result of the material balance revealed that uranium and TRU could be recovered at 98.0% and 97.0%, respectively, from a typical PWR spent fuel. Furthermore, the anticipated TRU product was found to emit a non-negligible level of $\gamma$-ray and a significantly higher level of neutrons compared to that of a typical plutonium product obtained from the PUREX process. The results indicate that the product from this conceptual pyroprocessing should be handled in a shielded cell and that this will contribute favorably to retaining proliferation resistance.

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