Nuclear Development

Nuclear Energy Agency

1990-066X (online)
1990-0678 (print)
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A series of publications from the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency on various aspects of nuclear development. The publications in this series provide authoritative, reliable information on nuclear technologies, economics, strategies and resources to governments for use in policy analyses and decision making.

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Advanced Nuclear Fuel Cycles and Radioactive Waste Management

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29 May 2006
9789264024861 (PDF) ;9789264024854(print)

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This study analyses a range of advanced nuclear fuel cycle options from the perspective of their effect on radioactive waste management policies. It presents various fuel cycle options which illustrate differences between alternative technologies, but does not purport to cover all foreseeable future fuel cycles. The analysis extends the work carried out in previous studies, assesses the fuel cycles as a whole, including all radioactive waste generated at each step of the cycles, and covers high-level waste repository performance for the different fuel cycles considered.

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  • Executive Summary
    This study was carried out by the ad hoc Expert Group on the Impact of Advanced Fuel Cycles on Waste Management Policies convened under the auspices of the NEA Committee for Technical and Economic Studies on Nuclear Energy Development and the Fuel Cycle (NDC); the Integrated Group on Safety Case from the Radioactive Waste Management Committee provided support in the field of waste repository issues; the Nuclear Science Committee Working Group on Flowsheet Studies provided also some input data.
  • Introduction
    A first series of comprehensive studies investigating the role and feasibility of P&T as an alternative waste management option was conducted in the 1970s predominantly in Europe. A renewed interest in P&T arose in the late 1980s, this time in Japan. A detailed history of this development has been described in [1].
  • Fuel Cycles
    The long-term goal of sustainable, "radiologically clean" nuclear energy systems is an important driver for the development of advanced fuel cycles. The goal may be approached in successive steps with emphasis, first, on an improved management of the plutonium and, then, on an additional management of the minor actinides neptunium, americium and curium by integrating P&T technologies in the fuel cycle.
  • Waste Generation Processes and Waste Characteristics
    All the operations associated to the production of nuclear energy, including mining, milling, front-end activities such as conversion, enrichment or fuel fabrication as well as the operation of nuclear power plants, generate waste that has to be managed adequately according to technical requirements and following internationally accepted principles [1].
  • Fission Product Management Options
    Fission products are the major constituents of high-level waste in the case of a closed fuel cycle, especially from a quantitative view point, since all actinides including minor actinides are recycled, leaving a very small amount of residual actinides in high-level waste.
  • Waste Management and Disposal
    The different waste types described in Chapter 3 will require long-term management in a final repository. Different types of repositories are considered for the disposal of low- and intermediatelevel waste and of high-level waste.
  • Economic Analyses
    The objective of this chapter is to evaluate a complex indicator – cost. Recognising that the study covers existing, well known technologies available today as well as technologies under development that will mature in the future, cost data has various degrees of uncertainties depending on the scheme and even process considered.
  • Conclusions
    The objective of this study was to analyse a range of possible fuel cycle options from the perspective of their effect on waste management policies using to the extent possible indicators or metrics that may drive, or at least influence, waste management policy decision.
  • Appendix A
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