Optimizing High Level Waste Disposal

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If society is ever to reap the potential benefits of nuclear energy, technologists must close the fuel-cycle completely. A closed cycle equates to a continued supply of fuel and safe reactors, but also reliable and comprehensive closure of waste issues. High level waste (HLW) disposal in borosilicate glass (BSG) is based on 1970s era evaluations. This host matrix is very adaptable to sequestering a wide variety of radionuclides found in raffinates from spent fuel reprocessing. However, it is now known that the current system is far from optimal for disposal of the diverse HLW streams, and proven alternatives are available ... continued below

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Gombert, Dirk September 1, 2005.

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If society is ever to reap the potential benefits of nuclear energy, technologists must close the fuel-cycle completely. A closed cycle equates to a continued supply of fuel and safe reactors, but also reliable and comprehensive closure of waste issues. High level waste (HLW) disposal in borosilicate glass (BSG) is based on 1970s era evaluations. This host matrix is very adaptable to sequestering a wide variety of radionuclides found in raffinates from spent fuel reprocessing. However, it is now known that the current system is far from optimal for disposal of the diverse HLW streams, and proven alternatives are available to reduce costs by billions of dollars. The basis for HLW disposal should be reassessed to consider extensive waste form and process technology research and development efforts, which have been conducted by the United States Department of Energy (USDOE), international agencies and the private sector. Matching the waste form to the waste chemistry and using currently available technology could increase the waste content in waste forms to 50% or more and double processing rates. Optimization of the HLW disposal system would accelerate HLW disposition and increase repository capacity. This does not necessarily require developing new waste forms, the emphasis should be on qualifying existing matrices to demonstrate protection equal to or better than the baseline glass performance. Also, this proposed effort does not necessarily require developing new technology concepts. The emphasis is on demonstrating existing technology that is clearly better (reliability, productivity, cost) than current technology, and justifying its use in future facilities or retrofitted facilities. Higher waste processing and disposal efficiency can be realized by performing the engineering analyses and trade-studies necessary to select the most efficient methods for processing the full spectrum of wastes across the nuclear complex. This paper will describe technologies being evaluated at Idaho National Laboratory and the facilities we’ve designed to evaluate options and support optimization.

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  • 10th International Conference on Environmental Remediation and Radioactive Waste Management,Glasgow, Scotland,09/04/2005,09/08/2005

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  • Report No.: INL/CON-05-00329
  • Grant Number: DE-AC07-99ID-13727
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 911151
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc890209

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

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  • September 1, 2005

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  • Sept. 22, 2016, 2:13 a.m.

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  • Oct. 20, 2016, 12:45 p.m.

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Gombert, Dirk. Optimizing High Level Waste Disposal, article, September 1, 2005; [Idaho Falls, Idaho]. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc890209/: accessed December 10, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.