AN EVALUATION OF THE ELECTROMETALLURGICAL APPROACH FOR TREATMENT OF EXCESS WEAPONS PLUTONIUM

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AN EVALUATION OF THE ELECTROMETALLURGICAL APPROACH FOR TREATMENT OF EXCESS WEAPONS PLUTONIUM AN EVALUATION OF THE ELECTROMETALLURGICAL APPROACH FOR TREATMENT OF EXCESS WEAPONS PLUTONIUM National Research Council

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AN EVALUATION OF THE ELECTROMETALLURGICAL APPROACH FOR TREATMENT OF EXCESS WEAPONS PLUTONIUM AN EVALUATION OF THE ELECTROMETALLURGICAL APPROACH FOR TREATMENT OF EXCESS WEAPONS PLUTONIUM Committee on Electrometallurgical Techniques for DOE Spent Fuel Treatment Board on Chemical Sciences and Technology Commission on Physical Sciences, Mathematics, and Applications National Research Council National Academy Press Washington, D.C.1996

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AN EVALUATION OF THE ELECTROMETALLURGICAL APPROACH FOR TREATMENT OF EXCESS WEAPONS PLUTONIUM NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance. This report has been reviewed by a group other than the authors according to procedures approved by a Report Review Committee consisting of members of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Bruce Alberts is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Harold Liebowitz is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Kenneth I. Shine is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy's purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Bruce Alberts and Dr. Harold Liebowitz are chairman and vice chairman, respectively, of the National Research Council. Support for this project was provided by the Department of Energy. Copyright 1996 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Available from: Board on Chemical Sciences and Technology National Research Council 2101 Constitution Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20418 Printed in the United States of America

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AN EVALUATION OF THE ELECTROMETALLURGICAL APPROACH FOR TREATMENT OF EXCESS WEAPONS PLUTONIUM Committee on Electrometallurgical Techniques for DOE Spent Fuel Treatment GREGORY R. CHOPPIN, Florida State University, Chair JOHN F. AHEARNE, Duke University and Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society MICHAEL J. APTED, QuantiSci, Inc. PATRICIA A. BAISDEN, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory SOL BURSTEIN, Wisconsin Electric Power Co. (retired) EDITH M. FLANIGEN, UOP (retired) L. EUGENE MCNEESE, Oak Ridge National Laboratory ROBERT A. OSTERYOUNG, North Carolina State University JOHN D. SHERMAN, UOP JOEL D. WILLIAMS, Los Alamos National Laboratory RAYMOND G. WYMER, Oak Ridge National Laboratory (retired) Staff DOUGLAS J. RABER, Director, BCST SCOTT T. WEIDMAN, Senior Program Officer TAMAE M. WONG, Senior Program Officer MARIA P. JONES, Senior Project Assistant

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AN EVALUATION OF THE ELECTROMETALLURGICAL APPROACH FOR TREATMENT OF EXCESS WEAPONS PLUTONIUM Board on Chemical Sciences and Technology ROYCE C. MURRAY, University of North Carolina, Co-Chair JOHN J. WISE, Mobil Research and Development Corporation, Co-Chair HANS C. ANDERSEN, Stanford University DAVID C. BONNER, Westlake Group PHILIP H. BRODSKY, Monsanto Company ROBERT A. BROWN, Massachusetts Institute of Technology MARVIN H. CARUTHERS, University of Colorado GREGORY R. CHOPPIN, Florida State University MOSTAFA EL-SAYED, Georgia Institute of Technology JOANNA S. FOWLER, Brookhaven National Laboratory JUDITH C. GIORDAN, Henkel Corporation LOUIS C. GLASGOW, E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Company JOSEPH G. GORDON II, IBM Almaden Research Center VICTORIA F. HAYNES, B.F. Goodrich Company GEORGE J. HIRASAKI, Rice University GARY E. MCGRAW, Eastman Chemical Company WAYNE H. PITCHER, JR., Genencor Corporation W. HARMON RAY, University of Wisconsin GABOR A. SOMORJAI, University of California, Berkeley JOAN S. VALENTINE, University of California, Los Angeles DOUGLAS J. RABER, Director MARIA P. JONES, Senior Project Assistant SYBIL A. PAIGE, Administrative Associate SCOTT T. WEIDMAN, Senior Program Officer TAMAE M. WONG, Senior Program Officer

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AN EVALUATION OF THE ELECTROMETALLURGICAL APPROACH FOR TREATMENT OF EXCESS WEAPONS PLUTONIUM Commission on Physical Sciences, Mathematics, and Applications ROBERT J. HERMANN, United Technologies Corporation, Chair STEPHEN L. ADLER, Institute for Advanced Study PETER M. BANKS, Environmental Research Institute of Michigan SYLVIA T. CEYER, Massachusetts Institute of Technology L. LOUIS HEGEDUS, W.R. Grace and Company JOHN E. HOPCROFT, Cornell University RHONDA J. HUGHES, Bryn Mawr College SHIRLEY A. JACKSON, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission KENNETH I. KELLERMANN, National Radio Astronomy Observatory KEN KENNEDY, Rice University THOMAS A. PRINCE, California Institute of Technology JEROME SACKS, National Institute of Statistical Sciences L.E. SCRIVEN, University of Minnesota LEON T. SILVER, California Institute of Technology CHARLES P. SLICHTER, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign ALVIN W. TRIVELPIECE, Oak Ridge National Laboratory SHMUEL WINOGRAD, IBM T.J. Watson Research Center CHARLES A. ZRAKET, MITRE Corporation (retired) NORMAN METZGER, Executive Director

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AN EVALUATION OF THE ELECTROMETALLURGICAL APPROACH FOR TREATMENT OF EXCESS WEAPONS PLUTONIUM PREFACE In July 1995, the Department of Energy (DOE1) asked the National Research Council (NRC) to extend the lifetime of its Committee on Electrometallurgical Techniques for DOE Spent Fuel Treatment in order to provide additional advice. After this additional activity was approved by the NRC, the committee was specifically charged with two tasks. The first was to provide an ongoing evaluation of Argonne National Laboratory's (ANL's) research and development (R&D) activity on electrometallurgical techniques for treatment of DOE spent fuel, including their specific application to EBR-II spent fuel; the committee's activity in this area is continuing. The second task was to evaluate the scientific and technological issues associated with extending this research and development program to handle plutonium, should the DOE decide that an electrometallurgical treatment option for the disposition of excess weapons plutonium is worth pursuing. This report has been prepared in response to the second task. Three members of the originally appointed committee found that other commitments made them unable to continue service on the committee. These were Fred Basolo (the committee chair), Alfred F. LaCamera, and Lawrence J. Mullins. Consequently, several new members were appointed to the committee. Gregory R. Choppin (previously the committee's liaison from the Board on Chemical Sciences and Technology) was named as the new chair of the committee, and four other experts—John F. Ahearne, Edith M. Flanigen, John D. Sherman, and Joel D. Williams —were named as members to provide expertise in the areas of plutonium disposition, zeolite chemistry, and molten salt processing. The committee held two meetings (Appendix A) to consider the issues related to extending the ANL R&D program on electrometallurgical techniques to the disposition of excess weapons plutonium. The first meeting was held on October 4-5, 1995, at the National Research Council's facilities in Washington, D.C. During an open session, the committee received briefings from representatives of DOE and ANL. Subsequent discussions by the committee during its executive session led to the formulation of a series of follow-up questions that were posed to ANL. The complete questions and ANL's response are presented in Appendix B. The committee's second meeting, on December 4-5, 1995, again at the National Research Council's facilities in Washington, D.C., was held largely in executive session to allow the committee to reach consensus and to produce a draft version of its report. Briefings from DOE representatives were heard during an open session of the committee. Additional follow-up questions were sent to ANL during the meeting by fax, and a subsequent videoconference with ANL representatives allowed the committee to obtain additional information. These questions, together with ANL 's written response, are presented in Appendix C. 1   The abbreviations used in this report are listed in Appendix E.

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