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NFRP-09-2015 - Transmutation of minor actinides (Towards industrial application)

Specific Challenge: The elimination or transmutation of minor actinides is a key to the sustainability of the back-end of the fuel cycle. Further research is needed in order to demonstrate the feasibility of transmutation of high-level waste at industrial scale. Advanced experimental tests as well as numerical simulation tools will be required to conduct this interdisciplinary research encompassing basic as well as applied sciences. The technological and economic performance of transmutation in a fast neutron facility should also take into account the other possible uses of the equipment, e.g. for the production of radioisotopes or material testing for nuclear fission and fusion applications.

Scope: This research should contribute to the further development of state-of-the-art critical or sub-critical fast neutron installations for transmutation. Due consideration should be given to the actual effectiveness of the transmutation process, as for example by using accelerator driven systems, as well as the safety and reliability of the facility and the demonstration of the industrial feasibility of the process. The development of innovative fuel and targets for the transmutation of minor actinides should also be considered in this proposal, as well as the development of advanced experiments and numerical simulation tools. Full advantage should be taken of existing knowledge and competence. International cooperation could be beneficial in this area.

Expected impact: Even if a final repository would still be needed, the partitioning and transmutation would drastically reduce the radiotoxicity, the heat production and package volume of high-level radioactive wastes, thereby easing the long-term safety of a final repository. This research will allow pursuing this objective by using state-of-the-art technology, notably in terms of efficiency and safety of the process.

Type of action: Research and innovation actions.

Additional information: The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the Euratom of between EUR 7 and 9 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.