• Title, Summary, Keyword: Pyroprocessing

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A preliminary study of pilot-scale electrolytic reduction of UO2 using a graphite anode

  • Kim, Sung-Wook;Heo, Dong Hyun;Lee, Sang Kwon;Jeon, Min Ku;Park, Wooshin;Hur, Jin-Mok;Hong, Sun-Seok;Oh, Seung-Chul;Choi, Eun-Young
    • Nuclear Engineering and Technology
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    • v.49 no.7
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    • pp.1451-1456
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    • 2017
  • Finding technical issues associated with equipment scale-up is an important subject for the investigation of pyroprocessing. In this respect, electrolytic reduction of 1 kg $UO_2$, a unit process of pyroprocessing, was conducted using graphite as an anode material to figure out the scale-up issues of the C anode-based system at pilot scale. The graphite anode can transfer a current that is 6-7 times higher than that of a conventional Pt anode with the same reactor, showing the superiority of the graphite anode. $UO_2$ pellets were turned into metallic U during the reaction. However, several problems were discovered after the experiments, such as reaction instability by reduced effective anode area (induced by the existence of $Cl_2$ around anode and anode consumption), relatively low metal conversion rate, and corrosion of the reactor. These issues should be overcome for the scale-up of the electrolytic reducer using the C anode.

Preliminary design of a production automation framework for a pyroprocessing facility

  • Shin, Moonsoo;Ryu, Dongseok;Han, Jonghui;Kim, Kiho;Son, Young-Jun
    • Nuclear Engineering and Technology
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    • v.50 no.3
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    • pp.478-487
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    • 2018
  • Pyroprocessing technology has been regarded as a promising solution for recycling spent fuel in nuclear power plants. The Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute has been studying the current status of equipment and facilities for pyroprocessing and found that existing facilities are manually operated; therefore, their applications have been limited to laboratory scale because of low productivity and safety concerns. To extend the pyroprocessing technology to a commercial scale, the facility, including all the processing equipment and the material-handling devices, should be enhanced in view of automation. In an automated pyroprocessing facility, a supervised control system is needed to handle and manage material flow and associated operations. This article provides a preliminary design of the supervising system for pyroprocessing. In particular, a manufacturing execution system intended for an automated pyroprocessing facility, named Pyroprocessing Execution System, is proposed, by which the overall production process is automated via systematic collaboration with a planning system and a control system. Moreover, a simulation-based prototype system is presented to illustrate the operability of the proposed Pyroprocessing Execution System, and a simulation study to demonstrate the interoperability of the material-handling equipment with processing equipment is also provided.

PYROPROCESSING TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT AT KAERI

  • Lee, Han-Soo;Park, Geun-Il;Kang, Kweon-Ho;Hur, Jin-Mok;Kim, Jeong-Guk;Ahn, Do-Hee;Cho, Yung-Zun;Kim, Eung-Ho
    • Nuclear Engineering and Technology
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    • v.43 no.4
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    • pp.317-328
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    • 2011
  • Pyroprocessing technology was developed in the beginning for metal fuel treatment in the US in the 1960s. The conventional aqueous process, such as PUREX, is not appropriate for treating metal fuel. Pyroprocessing technology has advantages over the aqueous process: less proliferation risk, treatment of spent fuel with relatively high heat and radioactivity, compact equipment, etc. The addition of an oxide reduction process to the pyroprocessing metal fuel treatment enables handling of oxide spent fuel, which draws a potential option for the management of spent fuel from the PWR. In this context, KAERI has been developing pyroprocessing technology to handle the oxide spent fuel since the 1990s. This paper describes the current status of pyroprocessing technology development at KAERI from the head-end process to the waste treatment. A unit process with various scales has been tested to produce the design data associated with the scale up. A performance test of unit processes integration will be conducted at the PRIDE facility, which will be constructed by early 2012. The PRIDE facility incorporates the unit processes all together in a cell with an Ar environment. The purpose of PRIDE is to test the processes for unit process performance, operability by remote equipment, the integrity of the unit processes, process monitoring, Ar environment system operation, and safeguards related activities. The test of PRIDE will be promising for further pyroprocessing technology development.

DEVELOPMENT OF PYROPROCESSING AND ITS FUTURE DIRECTION

  • Inoue, Tadashi;Koch, Lothar
    • Nuclear Engineering and Technology
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    • v.40 no.3
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    • pp.183-190
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    • 2008
  • Pyroprocessing is the optimal means of treating spent metal fuels from metal fast fuel reactors and is proposed as a potential option for GNEP in order to meet the requirements of the next generation fuel cycle. Currently, efforts for research and development are being made not only in the U.S., but also in Asian countries. Electrorefining, cathode processing by distillation, injection casting for fuel fabrication, and waste treatment must be verified by the use of genuine materials, and the engineering scale model of each device must be developed for commercial deployment. Pyroprocessing can be effectively extended to treat oxide fuels by applying an electrochemical reduction, for which various kinds of oxides are examined. A typical morphology change was observed following the electrochemical reduction, while the product composition was estimated through the process flow diagram. The products include much stronger radiation emitter than pure typical LWR Pu or weapon-grade Pu. Nevertheless, institutional measures are unavoidable to ensure proliferation-proof plant operations. The safeguard concept of a pyroprocessing plant was compared with that of a PUREX plant. The pyroprocessing is better adapted for a collocation system positioned with some reactors and a single processing facility rather than for a centralized reprocessing unit with a large scale throughput.

Nuclide composition non-uniformity in used nuclear fuel for considerations in pyroprocessing safeguards

  • Woo, Seung Min;Chirayath, Sunil S.;Fratoni, Massimiliano
    • Nuclear Engineering and Technology
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    • v.50 no.7
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    • pp.1120-1130
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    • 2018
  • An analysis of a pyroprocessing safeguards methodology employing the Pu-to-$^{244}Cm$ ratio is presented. The analysis includes characterization of representative used nuclear fuel assemblies with respect to computed nuclide composition. The nuclide composition data computationally generated is appropriately reformatted to correspond with the material conditions after each step in the head-end stage of pyroprocessing. Uncertainty in the Pu-to-$^{244}Cm$ ratio is evaluated using the Geary-Hinkley transformation method. This is because the Pu-to-$^{244}Cm$ ratio is a Cauchy distribution since it is the ratio of two normally distributed random variables. The calculated uncertainty of the Pu-to-$^{244}Cm$ ratio is propagated through the mass flow stream in the pyroprocessing steps. Finally, the probability of Type-I error for the plutonium Material Unaccounted For (MUF) is evaluated by the hypothesis testing method as a function of the sizes of powder particles and granules, which are dominant parameters to determine the sample size. The results show the probability of Type-I error is occasionally greater than 5%. However, increasing granule sample sizes could surmount the weakness of material accounting because of the non-uniformity of nuclide composition.

Evaluation of nuclear material accountability by the probability of detection for loss of Pu (LOPu) scenarios in pyroprocessing

  • Woo, Seung Min;Chirayath, Sunil S.
    • Nuclear Engineering and Technology
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    • v.51 no.1
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    • pp.198-206
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    • 2019
  • A new methodology to analyze the nuclear material accountability for pyroprocessing system is developed. The $Pu-to-^{244}Cm$ ratio quantification is one of the methods for Pu accountancy in pyroprocessing. However, an uncertainty in the $Pu-to-^{244}Cm$ ratio due to the non-uniform composition in used fuel assemblies can affect the accountancy of Pu. A random variable, LOPu, is developed to analyze the probability of detection for Pu diversion of hypothetical scenarios at a pyroprocessing facility considering the uncertainty in $Pu-to-^{244}Cm$ ratio estimation. The analysis is carried out by the hypothesis testing and the event tree method. The probability of detection for diversion of 8 kg Pu is found to be less than 95% if a large size granule consisting of small size particles gets sampled for measurements. To increase the probability of detection more than 95%, first, a new Material Balance Area (MBA) structure consisting of more number of Key Measurement Points (KMPs) is designed. This multiple KMP-measurement for the MBA shows the probability of detection for 8 kg Pu diversion is greater than 96%. Increasing the granule sample number from one to ten also shows the probability of detection is greater than 95% in the most ranges for granule and powder sizes.

Energy Evaluation Studies on Pyroprocessing of Solids (고체 물질의 고온 처리 공정에 관한 에너지 평가 연구)

  • Ha, Daeseung;Choi, Sangmin
    • 한국연소학회:학술대회논문집
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    • pp.305-307
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    • 2014
  • Pyroprocessing (or pyrometallurgy) is the way of extracting from materials subjected to high temperatures. Generally, this process has a high energy consumption because of mass production and heating-up. To attain effective and efficient energy management, energetic analysis using 0-dimensional model is usually conducted. However, this model can lead to a misunderstanding about energy evaluation due to many assumptions and limitations. In this study, heat & mass balance using 0-dimensional model was reviewed to systematize problems and considerations in general process energy evaluation.

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Basis for a Minimalistic Salt Treatment Approach for Pyroprocessing Commercial Nuclear Fuel

  • Simpson, Michael F.;Bagri, Prashant
    • Journal of Nuclear Fuel Cycle and Waste Technology(JNFCWT)
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    • v.16 no.1
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    • pp.1-10
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    • 2018
  • A simplified flowsheet for pyroprocessing commercial spent fuel is proposed in which the only salt treatment step is actinide drawdown from electrorefiner salt. Actinide drawdown can be performed using a simple galvanic reduction process utilizing the reducing potential of gadolinium metal. Recent results of equilibrium reduction potentials for Gd, Ce, Nd, and La are summarized. A description of a recent experiment to demonstrate galvanic reduction with gadolinium is reviewed. Based on these experimental results and material balances of the flowsheet, this new variant of the pyroprocessing scheme is expected to meet the objectives of minimizing cost, maximizing processing rate, minimizing proliferation risk, and optimizing the utilization of geologic repository space.

CONSIDERATIONS REGARDING ROK SPENT NUCLEAR FUEL MANAGEMENT OPTIONS

  • Braun, Chaim;Forrest, Robert
    • Nuclear Engineering and Technology
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    • v.45 no.4
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    • pp.427-438
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    • 2013
  • In this paper we discuss spent fuel management options in the Republic of Korea (ROK) from two interrelated perspectives: Centralized dry cask storage and spent fuel pyroprocessing and burning in sodium fast reactors (SFRs). We argue that the ROK will run out of space for at-reactors spent fuel storage by about the year 2030 and will thus need to transition centralized dry cask storage. Pyroprocessing plant capacity, even if approved and successfully licensed and constructed by that time, will not suffice to handle all the spent fuel discharged annually. Hence centralized dry cask storage will be required even if the pyroprocessing option is successfully developed by 2030. Pyroprocessing is but an enabling technology on the path leading to fissile material recycling and burning in future SFRs. In this regard we discuss two SFR options under development in the U.S.: the Super Prism and the Travelling Wave Reactor (TWR). We note that the U.S. is further along in reactor development than the ROK. The ROK though has acquired more experience, recently in investigating fuel recycling options for SFRs. We thus call for two complementary joint R&D project to be conducted by U.S. and ROK scientists. One leading to the development of a demonstration centralized away-fromreactors spent fuel storage facility. The other involve further R&D on a combined SFR-fuel cycle complex based on the reactor and fuel cycle options discussed in the paper.