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Electrometallurgical Techniques for DOE Spent Fuel Treatment: Final Report
stainless steel, in the chlorination step further decrease the potential applicability of this process to stainless steel-clad SNF (e.g., EBR-II fuel). At present, considering also cost and schedule, the chloride volatility process is not competitive with the current EMT process. In addition, the committee is aware that a significant amount of work on chloride volatility processes was conducted during the 1960s at ANL and ORNL.19 However, this earlier work does not suggest to the committee that this approach is an attractive alternative to EMT.
In this process, components of SNFs are melted and oxidized, with the help of an oxygen lance, in a rotating furnace containing molten ceramic materials at a temperature of 1600 °C or higher. Although plasma arc processing has been used successfully to treat nonradioactive and low-level radioactive wastes, significant research, development, and demonstration would be needed to process SNF because of the much higher fission product and fissile material content. With regard specifically to EBR-II fuels, extensive work would have to be performed to ensure that the plasma arc process would be compatible with safely processing potentially pyrophoric uranium, and volatile and reactive sodium metal. Unresolved safety issues at present preclude consideration of plasma arc processing as a viable alternative to the EMT process.
T.A. Gens, “Chloride Volatility Processing of Nuclear Fuels,” Chem. Eng. Prog. Symp. Ser., Nuclear Engineering, Part X (47), Vol. 60, 1964, pp. 37-47.