fuels could be processed. ANL has suggested an additional scenario that does not depend solely on spent fuel to provide the radiation barrier. The use of radioactive cesium that has been stockpiled by DOE could allow the electrorefining portion of the flow sheet to be bypassed, although the process equipment would be employed. Cesium chloride would be added to the salt, which would then be contacted with the zeolite. This option requires that all of the plutonium be introduced into the process in the chloride form, and pretreatment would be needed to assure that all of the plutonium has been chlorinated.

Overall, the use of the entire suite of operations in the electrometallurgical technique for the disposition of excess plutonium appears to be dependent on the processing of spent fuel. The other options that have been advanced do not seem to be consistent with the equipment or the process conditions that exist in the present processing flow sheet (see Figure 2 in Chapter 2).

MODIFIED FLOW SHEET: CONCLUSIONS

  • Metallic plutonium from weapons components is compatible with the several flow sheets for electrometallurgical processing.

  • Significant pretreatment would be required for all forms of plutonium other than metal from weapons components before the material would be suitable for further electrometallurgical processing.

  • Interactions between the electrometallurgical process salt and non-metallic plutonium feed streams, specifically pyrochemical salts, might adversely affect electrometallurgical processing and/or waste form performance.

  • The lithium reduction/regeneration portion of the proposed process has not been adequately demonstrated on the different fuels to allow adoption as a pretreatment step for plutonium disposition.

MODIFIED FLOW SHEET: RECOMMENDATIONS

  • Pretreatment requirements for the nonmetal plutonium feed streams should be determined and, if possible, R&D should be started to validate the treatment and subsequent compatibility with the electrometallurgical process.

  • The effects of major impurities such as additional salts (NaCl/KCl and CaCl2) and other impurities such as Si, Mg, and C on the performance of the electrometallurgical treatment operations should be evaluated.



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