Findings

The ceramic and metal waste forms cannot be fully evaluated at the present time because acceptance criteria have not yet been established. The committee previously recommended that “DOE should establish acceptance criteria for waste forms scheduled for storage in a geologic repository. ”4 Similarly, the uranium product cannot yet be fully evaluated, because its ultimate disposition has not been decided. The committee believes that the overall goal of the demonstration is to show that the electrometallurgical process can be made to work at scale in a reasonable fashion; the goal at this stage is not to show that the waste forms will be satisfactory for geological disposal.

The committee finds that the criteria established by DOE are reasonable for judging the success of the EBR-II spent fuel treatment demonstration.

RECOMMENDATIONS

Confirmation that the waste forms produced by EMT are acceptable within the DOE's Office of Radioactive Waste (DOE-RW) Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management (OCRWM) program for final geological disposal must be a key component in a full qualification of the EMT process.

If DOE concludes that the EMT process is unsuitable for processing the remainder of the EBR-II fuel, then the PUREX process could be evaluated for its applicability to treatment of EBR-II spent fuel. However, a significant issue for treating EBR-II fuel at SRS by PUREX relates to public concerns about the transportation of the fuel from the current storage site at ANL-W to SRS.

In recognition of the progress that ANL has made in the demonstration and in accord with the committee's previous recommendations, the committee recommends to DOE that ANL's demonstration project be carried to completion.

4  

Electrometallurgical Techniques for DOE Spent Fuel Treatment: Status Report on Argonne National Laboratory'sR&D Activity Through Spring 1997, National Academy Press, Washington, D.C., 1997, p. 17.



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