Spent fuel characteristics & disposal considerations

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The fuel used in commercial nuclear power reactors is uranium, generally in the form of an oxide. The gas-cooled reactors developed in England use metallic uranium enclosed in a thin layer of Magnox. Since this fuel must be processed into a more stable form before disposal, we will not consider the characteristics of the Magnox spent fuel. The vast majority of the remaining power reactors in the world use uranium dioxide pellets in Zircaloy cladding as the fuel material. Reactors that are fueled with uranium dioxide generally use water as the moderator. If ordinary water is used, the reactors are ... continued below

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24 p.

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Oversby, V.M. June 1, 1996.

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Description

The fuel used in commercial nuclear power reactors is uranium, generally in the form of an oxide. The gas-cooled reactors developed in England use metallic uranium enclosed in a thin layer of Magnox. Since this fuel must be processed into a more stable form before disposal, we will not consider the characteristics of the Magnox spent fuel. The vast majority of the remaining power reactors in the world use uranium dioxide pellets in Zircaloy cladding as the fuel material. Reactors that are fueled with uranium dioxide generally use water as the moderator. If ordinary water is used, the reactors are called Light Water Reactors (LWR), while if water enriched in the deuterium isotope of hydrogen is used, the reactors are called Heavy Water reactors. The LWRs can be either pressurized reactors (PWR) or boiling water reactors (BWR). Both of these reactor types use uranium that has been enriched in the 235 isotope to about 3.5 to 4% total abundance. There may be minor differences in the details of the spent fuel characteristics for PWRs and BWRs, but for simplicity we will not consider these second-order effects. The Canadian designed reactor (CANDU) that is moderated by heavy water uses natural uranium without enrichment of the 235 isotope as the fuel. These reactors run at higher linear power density than LWRs and produce spent fuel with lower total burn-up than LWRs. Where these difference are important with respect to spent fuel management, we will discuss them. Otherwise, we will concentrate on spent fuel from LWRs.

Physical Description

24 p.

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INIS; OSTI as DE96006312

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  • NATO Advanced Study Institute on actinides and the environment, Crete (Greece), 7-19 Jul 1996

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  • Other: DE96006312
  • Report No.: UCRL-JC--124315
  • Report No.: CONF-9607139--1
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 273803
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc672799

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Office of Scientific & Technical Information Technical Reports

Reports, articles and other documents harvested from the Office of Scientific and Technical Information.

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  • June 1, 1996

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • June 29, 2015, 9:42 p.m.

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  • Feb. 17, 2016, 4:30 p.m.

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Oversby, V.M. Spent fuel characteristics & disposal considerations, article, June 1, 1996; California. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc672799/: accessed June 19, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.