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Abstract

The increasing interest in pyrometallurgy can be attributed to the drastic change of boundary conditions around the nuclear fuel cycle in the world. Today�s main emphasis is put on a maximal cost reduction of the fuel cycle. Furthermore, recovery of long-lived nuclides becomes a new requirement, since geological disposal of high level waste (or once-through fuel) is facing large difficulties to get public acceptance. Recovery of long-lived nuclides means to use various reactor systems, resulting in new requirements to reprocess different fuel types, e.g. MOX, metal fuel, nitride fuel, high burn-up fuel, etc. These new requirements may result in a different choice for future fuel cycle technology. Pyrometallurgical processing is one of the most attractive alternatives to meet these requirements. The prerequisite for product purity being much less stringent, the recovery of minor actinides (MA: Np, Am, Cm) will take place simultaneously with plutonium due to the thermodynamic properties of molten salt media. The recovery of MA allows the reduction of TRU wastes and the risk of nuclear proliferation.

This study will demonstrate the feasibility of pyrometallurgical processes for separating actinide elements from real spent fuel and HLW, also in view of a rational evaluation of future fuel cycle technology. .

Additional information

Authors: KOYAMA T ET AL, Central Institute of Electric Power Industry, Tokyo (JP);OUGIER M ET AL, JRC, Institute for Transuranium Elements, Karlsruhe (DE)
Bibliographic Reference: An oral report given at: The International Conference Back End of the Fuel Cycle: From Research to Solutions, Global 2001, Paris (FR), 9-13 September 2001
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