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New reactor concepts discussed worldwide to make of nuclear energy a major sustainable energy source for the future, including a meaningful P&T waste management strategy must rely on efficient partitioning processes. A large number of partitioning processes were developed, based on mainly aqueous or molten salt systems. The variety of fuel cycles and transmutation routes proposed implies the need for a great flexibility in the corresponding partitioning schemes. Therefore ITU is involved in an international research program to assess the potentialities of aqueous and dry reprocessing routes. The effectiveness of several advanced aqueous processes has been compared using genuine HLL W .The results of these investigations have shown that aqueous methods are technically feasible; however, optimisation is required for industrial scale operation. With an aqueous process scheme it could also be demonstrated that an efficient recovery of minor actinides from transmutation targets irradiated in the French PHENIX reactor in the frame of a joint ITU-CEA transmutation experiment called SUPERF ACT is possible.

In other areas the so-called dry processing techniques based on electrochemical and pyro-chemical separation in molten salts offer a number of advantages and therefore at ITU a pyro-processing laboratory is being set-up to carry out research on these techniques. A joint CRIEPI-ITU study on pyro-metallurgical processing demonstrates the capability of this type of process to separate actinide elements from spent metallic U-Fu-Zr fuel and HL W and should provide important data in view of a rational selection of future nuclear options. Electrorefining of U on a solid cathode and Fu and Am on a liquid Cd cathode have proven the operational capabilities of the facility y

Additional information

Authors: GLATZ J.P, EC-JRC, Institute for Transuranium Elements, Karlsruhe (DE);CHRISTIANSEN B, EC-JRC, Institute for Transuranium Elements, Karlsruhe (DE);MALMBECK R, EC-JRC, Institute for Transuranium Elements, Karlsruhe (DE);TADASHI I, EC-JRC, Institute for Transuranium Elements, Karlsruhe (DE);KOYAMA T, EC-JRC, Institute for Transuranium Elements, Karlsruhe (DE);OUGIER M, EC-JRC, Institute for Transuranium Elements, Karlsruhe (DE);KINOSHITA K, Central Research Institute of Electric Power Industry, Tokyo (JP)
Bibliographic Reference: An oral report given at: International Conference on: Back End of the Fuel Cycle-From Research to Solutions, GLOBAL 2001. Held in: Paris (FR), 9-13 September (2001)
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