392748 Pyrochemical Technology -- Academic Roadmap and Path Forward for Used Fuel Reprocessing in the United States

Tuesday, November 18, 2014: 8:30 AM
M103 (Marriott Marquis Atlanta)
Supathorn Phongikaroon, Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA

Used nuclear fuel (UNF) from the Experimental Breeder Reactor-II (EBR-II) can be treated through a process known as pyroprocessing or pyrochemical technology.  This unique process utilized an electrorefiner to electrochemically oxidize uranium at the anode while simultaneously reduce and deposit uranium metal at the cathode.  Plutonium, sodium, and fission products are oxidized to form chlorides in the electrolyte, which consists primarily of eutectic LiCl-KCl.  The overall objective of pyroprocessing is to recover useful actinides from used fuel while separating and stabilizing radioactive fission products into durable high-level waste forms which can be placed into long-term storage in a geological repository.  This work presents the current progress and future path in pyrochemical research and development in the U.S. through collaborations between universities and national laboratories.

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