A

COMMITTEE MEETINGS

FIRST MEETING, OCTOBER 4-5, 1995
Washington, D.C.
AGENDA
Wednesday, October 4

Executive Session

8:00

Breakfast

8:30

Introductory Business

  • Introductions

  • Preliminary discussion of committee activities

Open Session

9:00

Introductory Remarks

  • Gregory R. Choppin, Committee Chair, Welcome and Introductions

  • E. William Colglazier, NRC Executive Officer

  • William D. Magwood, Department of Energy

  • Yoon I. Chang, Argonne National Laboratory

10:00

Briefings by ANL personnel: Status of ANL Program on Development of Electrometallurgical Technology for DOE Spent Fuel Treatment

  • General Perspective on Status of Program (Y.I. Chang)

  • Preparations for Startup of Fuel Conditioning Facility (Y.I. Chang)

  • FCF Process Equipment Startup Test Status (R.W. Benedict)

  • Development Program Activities since March, 1995 (J.J. Laidler, J.P. Ackerman, .C. McPheeters)

12:00

Lunch

1:00

Briefings by ANL personnel, cont'd

  • Development Program Activities since March, 1995, cont'd (J.J. Laidler, J.P. Ackerman, C.C. McPheeters)

  • Waste Form Performance Evaluation (D.J. Wronkiewicz)

2:30

Applications of Electrometallurgical Treatment to Surplus Fissile Materials Disposition (J.J. Laidler, C.C. McPheeters)

4:30

Open Discussion and Questions

5:00

Adjourn

6:00

Committee Dinner

Thursday, October 5

Executive Session

8:00

Breakfast

8:30

Discussion of Committee Charge

9:00

Discussion of Potential Conflicts and Bias



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AN EVALUATION OF THE ELECTROMETALLURGICAL APPROACH FOR TREATMENT OF EXCESS WEAPONS PLUTONIUM A COMMITTEE MEETINGS FIRST MEETING, OCTOBER 4-5, 1995 Washington, D.C. AGENDA Wednesday, October 4 Executive Session 8:00 Breakfast 8:30 Introductory Business Introductions Preliminary discussion of committee activities Open Session 9:00 Introductory Remarks Gregory R. Choppin, Committee Chair, Welcome and Introductions E. William Colglazier, NRC Executive Officer William D. Magwood, Department of Energy Yoon I. Chang, Argonne National Laboratory 10:00 Briefings by ANL personnel: Status of ANL Program on Development of Electrometallurgical Technology for DOE Spent Fuel Treatment General Perspective on Status of Program (Y.I. Chang) Preparations for Startup of Fuel Conditioning Facility (Y.I. Chang) FCF Process Equipment Startup Test Status (R.W. Benedict) Development Program Activities since March, 1995 (J.J. Laidler, J.P. Ackerman, .C. McPheeters) 12:00 Lunch 1:00 Briefings by ANL personnel, cont'd Development Program Activities since March, 1995, cont'd (J.J. Laidler, J.P. Ackerman, C.C. McPheeters) Waste Form Performance Evaluation (D.J. Wronkiewicz) 2:30 Applications of Electrometallurgical Treatment to Surplus Fissile Materials Disposition (J.J. Laidler, C.C. McPheeters) 4:30 Open Discussion and Questions 5:00 Adjourn 6:00 Committee Dinner Thursday, October 5 Executive Session 8:00 Breakfast 8:30 Discussion of Committee Charge 9:00 Discussion of Potential Conflicts and Bias

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AN EVALUATION OF THE ELECTROMETALLURGICAL APPROACH FOR TREATMENT OF EXCESS WEAPONS PLUTONIUM 9:45 Discussion of Key Issues for Plutonium Disposition How does the Introduction of Plutonium Change the Technology? How does the Introduction of Plutonium Affect the Committee's Outlook? 11:00 Discussion of Key Issues, cont'd Potential Obstacles in the Electrometallurgical Technology Possible Reasons for Considering the Electrometallurgical Technology Waste form Suitability Zeolite Chemistry 12:00 Lunch 1:00 Discussion of Key Issues, cont'd 3:00 Development of Specific Project Plan Preliminary Writing assignments Timetable Next Meeting Drafting Plutonium Disposition Report Review and Production of Report 5:00 Adjourn FIRST MEETING, OCTOBER 4-5, 1995 Washington, D.C. MEETING SUMMARY Executive Session (Oct. 4) Attendance: G. Choppin (chair), J. Ahearne, M. Apted, S. Burstein, E. McNeese, R. Osteryoung, J. Sherman, J. Williams, R. Wymer. NRC staff: E.W. Colglazier (executive session only), D. Raber, S. Weidman. Unable to attend: P. Baisden, E. Flanigen Choppin convened the meeting at 8:30 with introductions and a general discussion of the committee's task. He introduced E. William Colglazier, Executive Officer of the National Research Council, who explained the committee's task in the context of related work recently finished by the Committee on Security and Arms Control and the Panel on Separations Technology and Transmutation Systems. Open Session (Oct. 4) Attendance was augmented by guests John P. Ackerman (ANL), John Baker (DOE), Robert W. Benedict (ANL), Alice Caponiti (DOE), Yoon I. Chang (ANL), Leonard W. Gray (LLNL), Daniel Horner (Nuclear Control Institute), Christopher Karis (DOE), James J. Laidler (ANL), William D. Magwood (DOE), Charles C. McPheeters (ANL), Robert Neuhold (DOE), and David J. Wronkiewicz (ANL). William Magwood of the Department of Energy (representing the Office of Nuclear Energy, Science, and Technology, which requested the study) complimented the committee on its previous reports and described what his office hoped the committee would accomplish in the continuation of the work. He answered questions about budgets, explaining that DOE's FY96 request to Congress was for $24.6M for Argonne electrometallurgical R&D and $24M for demonstration of that technology as part of the EBR-II shutdown, and the time line for beginning the demonstration at Argonne National Laboratory-West in Idaho. He indicated that the Department was considering what type of NEPA analysis is required before the demonstration can begin. If it turns out that an environmental impact statement is needed before the

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AN EVALUATION OF THE ELECTROMETALLURGICAL APPROACH FOR TREATMENT OF EXCESS WEAPONS PLUTONIUM demonstration can begin, he will ask the committee to revise its scope or time line for the spent fuel task of this study. In response to a question of why the DOE is asking the NRC committee to monitor that demonstration rather than doing it itself, he noted that his office has assigned that responsibility to Robert Neuhold, but anticipates that the NRC committee can augment his work with recommendations for further improvements. Magwood explained that the committee's report on the possible use of electrometallurgical treatment for excess weapons plutonium will be important input to a programmatic environmental impact statement that the DOE Office of Fissile Materials Disposition expects to issue in draft form in early 1996. He emphasized that his office does not intend to interfere with DOE's implementation of CISAC's recommendations for disposal of excess weapons Pu, which did not include the use of electrometallurgical processing. Yoon Chang of Argonne National Laboratory gave a brief overview of the status of ANL's program to develop electrometallurgical technology for DOE spent fuel treatment. He gave a status report on the Fuel Conditioning Facility at ANL-West that will be used for the technology demonstration, stating that the FCF is ready for full operation and all technical requirements for startup have been fully satisfied. Robert Benedict of ANL expanded on Chang's introduction with a detailed presentation of the tests performed to ensure that the Fuel Conditioning Facility (FCF) is ready. He concluded that the principal treatment processes, and the analytical laboratory, are ready for irradiated fuel, and that the accountability system is operational. The waste process equipment is now being prepared for initial testing. James Laidler of ANL presented an overview of activities within the development program since March, 1995, emphasizing work that is directly targeted at spent fuels of particular interest and work dealing with wastes. He also gave an update on development of the high-throughput electrorefiner and brought the committee up to date on development oriented toward treatment of salts from the Molten Salt Reactor Experiment. Charles McPheeters of ANL continued the update by discussing development of the oxide fuel treatment process. He noted that the process steps have been proven at a small scale with actual oxide spent fuels and at a 10-kg scale with simulated spent fuel. The engineering-scale process equipment functioned well during process demonstration, but a change has been introduced in the anode design because the previous design precluded successful lithium regeneration. John Ackerman and David Wronkiewicz (both ANL) summarized the status of work dealing with the waste forms from the electrometallurgical process. Ackerman described the fabrication and properties of both the mineral and metal waste forms. While much remains to be done before their properties are well understood, Ackerman was optimistic that their early promise would be sustained. Wronkiewicz focused on the waste form testing plan for the mineral waste form. Tests are at a very early stage of development, but he reported that there is some indication that the waste form could be competitive with borosilicate glass. James Laidler of ANL turned to the potential application of the electrometallurgical treatment to surplus fissile materials disposition. He compared the high-level flow chart of a possible treatment to that already planned for the treatment of spent nuclear fuel.

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AN EVALUATION OF THE ELECTROMETALLURGICAL APPROACH FOR TREATMENT OF EXCESS WEAPONS PLUTONIUM Charles McPheeters of ANL went into more detail, beginning with a discussion of the many kinds of materials encompassed by the phrase “surplus fissile material.” He described many of the system modifications that would be necessary to handle these materials. While little can be stated conclusively at this stage, he proposed that, if the electrometallurgical process is in use for treatment of DOE spent nuclear fuels, the same technology, equipment, and facilities provide a good basis for also handling the immobilization of surplus fissile materials. After open discussion, including some pointed disagreements about the economics of an electrometallurgical process and some questions from Dan Horner related to proliferation, the chair thanked the guests and adjourned for the day. Executive Session (Oct. 5) Attendance: G. Choppin (chair), J. Ahearne, M. Apted, P. Baisden, S. Burstein, E. McNeese, R. Osteryoung, J. Williams, R. Wymer. NRC staff: D. Raber, S. Weidman. Unable to attend: E. Flanigen, J. Sherman The committee began the second day with a discussion of whether the charge is appropriate for an NRC study and whether it is manageable. The answers to both questions were affirmative, as long as the charge is interpreted conservatively. Raber then led the group in a discussion of potential conflicts and bias. John Sherman joined the committee via speakerphone to present his impressions of the ANL work on mineral waste forms. He agreed to send a list of questions to be passed on to ANL. The committee decided that it did not have significant new information to consider for its task relative to DOE spent nuclear fuel, so it turned its full attention to the subject of surplus fissile material. After some discussion, the committee drafted an outline for its January report on this subject (see attached) and accepted writing assignments. The next meeting was scheduled for Dec. 4-5 in Washington, D.C. The meeting was adjourned at 4:00 p.m. SECOND MEETING, DECEMBER 4-5, 1995 Washington, D.C. AGENDA Monday, December 4 Executive Session 8:00 Breakfast 8:30 General discussion of draft materials; respective chapter leaders to moderate discussion 11:00 Identify follow-up questions for ANL 12:00 Send questions to ANL by fax Open Session 12:15 Videoconference with ANL staff Executive Session 1:00 Lunch 2:00 Begin writing sessions

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AN EVALUATION OF THE ELECTROMETALLURGICAL APPROACH FOR TREATMENT OF EXCESS WEAPONS PLUTONIUM 3:00 Writing sessions continue 4:00 Formulation of recommendations for report 4:30 Discuss issues for Magwood meeting on Tuesday 5:00 Adjourn for day 6:00 Committee Dinner Tuesday, December 5 Open Session 8:00 Breakfast 8:30 Magwood/Neuhold DOE briefing and discussion Executive Session 9:30 Writing-progress reports from chapter leaders and discussion 10:00 Resume writing breakouts to finalize writing or writing plans 12:00 Lunch 1:00 Finalize schedule for preparation, review, and delivery of plutonium report 1:30 Discussion of next steps for monitoring scientific and technical progress of electrometallurgical R&D 3:30 Adjourn SECOND MEETING, DECEMBER 4-5, 1995 Washington, D.C. MEETING SUMMARY Attendance: G. Choppin (chair), J. Ahearne, M. Apted, P. Baisden, S. Burstein, E. Flanigen, E. McNeese, J. Sherman, J. Williams. NRC staff: J. Husbands, D. Raber, T. Wong. Unable to attend: R. Osteryoung, R. Wymer Executive Session (Dec. 4) Choppin convened the meeting at 8:30 with introductions. The committee then reviewed the draft materials that had been prepared by individual committee members. A set of follow-up questions (Appendix C) for ANL was developed, and these were sent to ANL by fax in preparation for a videoconference. Open Session Attendance was augmented by Robert Neuhold (DOE) and by videoconference link to ANL. The ANL participants were John P. Ackerman, Yoon I. Chang, James J. Laidler, Charles C. McPheeters, and David J. Wronkiewicz. ANL responded to the questions that had been faxed prior to the videoconference, and these responses were followed by open discussion between the committee and the ANL representatives. ANL subsequently prepared a written version of their responses (Appendix C). Executive Session Following the videoconference, the committee broke into small groups to assemble material for the several chapters of the report. Each of these subgroups generated a set of potential conclusions and recommendations. The committee then reconvened as a whole to discuss possible recommendations and conclusions prior to adjourning for the day.

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AN EVALUATION OF THE ELECTROMETALLURGICAL APPROACH FOR TREATMENT OF EXCESS WEAPONS PLUTONIUM Open Session (Dec. 5) Attendance was augmented by Robert Neuhold (DOE), William Magwood (DOE), and Daniel Horner (Nuclear Control Institute). W. Magwood briefed the committee on several issues related to the committee's task. The schedule for the EBR-II spent fuel demonstration project has slipped because of National Environmental Policy Act considerations. DOE is preparing a supplemental Environmental Assessment, and is hopeful that an agressive schedule will lead to a Finding of No Significant Impact by late February, 1996. If this occurs, the electrometallurgical technology demonstration project could begin in March, 1996. In response to a question of how this schedule related to plutonium disposition, Magwood suggested that while it is important that electrometallurgical treatment technology be fully evaluated as an option for Pu disposition, he recognizes that the development schedule for this technology might find it to be more applicable for disposition of a variety of small quantities of plutonium scraps (with differing extents of chemical contamination) or as a backup to other technologies than for the more immediate problem of disposition of pits. The internal relationships in DOE between Nuclear Energy (NE) and Materials Disposition (MD) were clarified. An overall Environmental Impact Statement (for plutonium disposition) is being prepared by MD, and it is expected to include at least one technology option (electrometallurgical) from NE. Executive Session The committee spent much of the day working as small groups to develop completed draft chapters for the report. These were assembled and discussed by the committee as whole in mid-afternoon, and the commitee reached consensus on the content, conclusions, and recommendations.