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ELECTROMETALLURGICAL TECHNIQUES FOR DOE SPENT FUEL TREATMENT: STATUS REPORT ON ARGONNE NATIONAL LABORATORY'S R&D ACTIVITY THROUGH SPRING 1997 test methods7 may provide QT capabilities that are complementary or superior to the vapor-hydration and drip-test methods developed by ANL. Many of the proposed QT testing methods also specify instructions for post-test analyses of solids and solutions. As part of its QT investigations, ANL ought to examine the necessity and sufficiency of such proposed solids and solution analyses with respect to the unique characteristics of the ANL ceramic waste form. Summary on Waste Form Qualification ANL is apparently decoupling its waste form QT program from the criteria for successful demonstration of its electrometallurgical process by June 1999. The committee believes that this separation can be justified only if ANL maintains a sustained, high-level commitment to its proposed QT program up to and after the June 1999 demonstration. It is important that progress on QT with respect to both ceramic and metal waste forms be demonstrated by June 1999. Delays, redirection, or postponements of planned QT activities could have serious and potentially adverse implications for the feasibility of wide application of ANL's electrometallurgical processing technique. Any proposed programmatic changes in waste form qualification should be carefully evaluated by DOE. DOE should establish acceptance criteria for waste forms scheduled for storage in a geologic repository. Although the final acceptance criteria will have to be approved by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission and be consistent with the yet-to-be-published repository regulations, ANL's electrometallurgical technology program currently is forced to assume that its own definition will be acceptable. DOE should provide its best guidance to ensure that the Argonne approach is useful. External Technical Experts At the current stage of the ANL R&D program, the committee suggests that ANL utilize external technical experts in specific scientific areas of the program. These technical experts should be recognized for their in-depth knowledge in particular technical areas. Whereas the National Research Council committee has provided an overall program evaluation and policy recommendations, the proposed experts would examine technical details of the R&D. They would address such issues as: process and equipment flow sheets, materials of construction, equipment operability, 7 Examples include unsaturated flow simulation using ultracentrifugation (Conca et al., 1997) and the partially unsaturated flow (PUF) test (McGrail et al., 1997).
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