Unique challenges for storage and disposal of DOE-owned SNF at the INEEL Page: 4 of 13
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ICONE-6 Paper #6271
UNIQUE CHALLENGES FOR STORAGE AND DISPOSAL OF DOE OWNED SNF AT
Toney A. Mathews
Lockheed Martin Idaho Technologies Company, Inc.
P. O. Box 1625, MS 5306
Idaho Falls, ID 83415
(208)526-8710; FAX (208)526-3484
Non-commercial Spent Nuclear Fuel (SNF) owned by the Department of Energy presents some
unique challenges for interim storage as well as ultimate disposal in a repository. There is an
important link between Yucca Mountain Repository work and the future needs of the DOE SNF
program. Close coordination and early definition of acceptance criteria are essential.
Much of the Yucca Mountain Repository work has focused on commercial SNF which has very
high structural integrity and a well documented set of characteristics and burn-up histories. In
contrast, DOE non-commercial SNF at the Idaho National Environmental and Engineering
Laboratory (INEEL) represents over two hundred fifty fuel types, much of which is degraded.
DOE SNF degradation occurred during planned reactor excursions or as a result of mechanical
damage during disassembly for post irradiation testing. Corrosion during storage in old water
basin facilities has become a problem for many fuel types since reprocessing was discontinued at
the INEEL in April 1992.
Fuel designs by DOE were centered around various test objectives in experimental reactors. The
result was a proliferation of fuel types. Interest in enhanced heat transfer led to use of sodium as
a bond between the fuel and cladding. The desire for smaller more compact reactors with higher
power densities led to a variety of enrichments from less than 20% to greater than 90%. INEEL
has most of the United States U-233 spent nuclear fuel, which came from breeder reactor
concepts and consideration of a thorium fuel cycle. These various fuel types now must be placed
in safe, stable interim dry storage. Emphasis is being placed on the use of commercially
available dry storage designs and independent spent fuel storage installations licensed under
NRC criteria. A lot of technological development is being done to characterize fuels that do not
have the documented fabrication and operational histories of commercial LWR fuels. Program
objectives are safe interim storage and least cost transition to geological repository storage.
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Mathews, T.A. Unique challenges for storage and disposal of DOE-owned SNF at the INEEL, article, March 1, 1998; Idaho Falls, Idaho. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc690247/m1/4/: accessed June 23, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.