Criticality issues with highly enriched fuels in a repository environment

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This paper presents preliminary analysis of a volcanic tuff repository containing a combination of low enrichment commercial spent nuclear fuels (SNF) and DOE-owned SNF packages. These SNFs were analyzed with respect to their criticality risks. Disposal of SNF packages containing significant fissile mass within a geologic repository must comply with current regulations relative to criticality safety during transportation and handling within operational facilities. However, once the repository is closed, the double contingency credits for criticality safety are subject to unremediable degradation, (e.g., water intrusion, continued presence of neutron absorbers in proximity to fissile material, and fissile material reconfiguration). The work ... continued below

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11 p.

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Taylor, L.L.; Sanchez, L.C. & Rath, J.S. March 1, 1998.

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  • Sandia National Laboratories
    Publisher Info: Sandia National Labs., Albuquerque, NM (United States)
    Place of Publication: Albuquerque, New Mexico

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Description

This paper presents preliminary analysis of a volcanic tuff repository containing a combination of low enrichment commercial spent nuclear fuels (SNF) and DOE-owned SNF packages. These SNFs were analyzed with respect to their criticality risks. Disposal of SNF packages containing significant fissile mass within a geologic repository must comply with current regulations relative to criticality safety during transportation and handling within operational facilities. However, once the repository is closed, the double contingency credits for criticality safety are subject to unremediable degradation, (e.g., water intrusion, continued presence of neutron absorbers in proximity to fissile material, and fissile material reconfiguration). The work presented in this paper focused on two attributes of criticality in a volcanic tuff repository for near-field and far-field scenarios: (1) scenario conditions necessary to have a criticality, and (2) consequences of a nuclear excursion that are components of risk. All criticality consequences are dependent upon eventual water intrusion into the repository and subsequent breach of the disposal package. Key criticality parameters necessary for a critical assembly are: (1) adequate thermal fissile mass, (2) adequate concentration of fissile material, (3) separation of neutron poison from fissile materials, and (4) sufficient neutron moderation (expressed in units of moderator to fissile atom ratios). Key results from this study indicated that the total energies released during a single excursion are minimal (comparable to those released in previous solution accidents), and the maximum frequency of occurrence is bounded by the saturation and temperature recycle times, thus resulting in small criticality risks.

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11 p.

Notes

INIS; OSTI as DE98003338

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  • Waste management `98, Tucson, AZ (United States), 1-5 Mar 1998

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  • Other: DE98003338
  • Report No.: SAND--98-0480C
  • Report No.: INEEL/CON--97-01320;CONF-980307--
  • Grant Number: AC04-94AL85000;AC07-94ID13223
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 650137
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc711233

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  • March 1, 1998

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  • Sept. 12, 2015, 6:31 a.m.

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  • May 16, 2016, 6:17 p.m.

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Taylor, L.L.; Sanchez, L.C. & Rath, J.S. Criticality issues with highly enriched fuels in a repository environment, article, March 1, 1998; Albuquerque, New Mexico. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc711233/: accessed August 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.