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AN ASSESSMENT OF CONTINUED R&D INTO AN ELECTROMETALLURGICAL APPROACH FOR TREATING DOE SPENT NUCLEAR FUEL
successfully shown. The issue of reliability will be addressed and evaluated during the treatment of EBR-II spent fuel and blanket assemblies.
The DOE intends to demonstrate some aspects of the technical viability of the electrometallurgical processing technology through its successful application to the processing of EBR-II SNF. The EBR-II processing plan includes the following process flow steps:
Dismantling of spent fuel assemblies,
Chopping of fuel pins,
Casting of ingots
Storage of uranium and interim TRU products
Waste treatment and production of waste forms,
Metal waste forms
Mineral waste form
Recycle of process reagents.
The two major milestones scheduled through the spring of 1996 are treatment of the first four driver assemblies (June 1995) and start of the production of a sample metal waste form (March 1996). The first blanket-assembly processing campaign is currently scheduled for completion in April 1998. DOE oversight of the progress of the planned EBR-II program in the next and subsequent years will serve to evaluate the effectiveness of the electrometallurgical process. Any delay in the achievement of specified milestones may have an adverse effect on the ability of the DOE to include this technology as an option in its selection of technologies to be applied to the treatment of SNF. This decision is expected by October 1998.
CRITERIA FOR SUCCESSFUL PROCESS DEMONSTRATION DURING THE TREATMENT OF EBR-II SNF
Monitoring and oversight of the progress of the EBR-II spent fuel program are critical to assessing the feasibility of the electrometallurgical technique. (However, the committee was not asked to, nor did it, investigate in depth this phase of the overall electrometallurgical treatment program.) To assist the DOE in evaluating the progress and success of this project, the committee recommends the following accomplishments as a minimum definition of “successful application ”:
Demonstration of batch operation of an electrorefiner and a cathodeprocessor with a capacity of approximately 200 kg/day of radioactiveEBR-II spent fuel without failure for about 30 days.