Gregory Choppin, committee chair, opened the open session with an introduction of the committee members.
Robert W. Benedict, ANL, spoke on the EBR-II spent fuel demonstration status and plans. The EBR-II spent fuel treatment flow sheet was reviewed, demonstrating the separation of uranium, and the ceramic and metal waste forms individually. An overview of repeatability results for electrorefining was given. The specific success criterion relating to this issues states, “Freeze process modifications and operating parameters while demonstrating a continuous throughput of 16 kg of driver uranium for three months.” The electrorefiner repeatability demonstration began on November 14, 1998, and ended on January 22, 1999, for a total of 61 working days. The average treatment rate was approximately 24 kg per month.
The Mark-V electrorefiner is used to treat blanket fuel. The success criterion relating to blanket fuel treatment requires a throughput rate of 150 kg per month sustained for 1 month. At the time of the meeting (July 21, 1999), consecutive treatment had started with three ports on the electrorefiner running in parallel, with hopes of getting the fourth port running. Significant achievements include the following: the latest run conditions allow 190 to 240 g of uranium per hour as an average production rate, four ports are operational, five blanket assemblies have been treated, and control software allows unattended operation.
Operations with irradiated fuel include both the cathode processor and the casting furnace. The cathode processor has treated 40 driver batches, 6 blanket batches, and 8 cladding hull batches. The casting furnace has treated 40 driver batches, 6 blanket batches, and 7 metal waste batches.
Significant accomplishments in the treatment process include the following: driver treatment has processed 100 driver assemblies, 8 assemblies were treated in 1 month, 1110 kg of low-enriched uranium were cast, the cathode processor batch size increased from 12 to 19 kg, and the casting furnace batch size increased from 36 to 54 kg. Blanket treatment has processed 5 of 25 blanket assemblies, the Mark-V electrorefiner has run 11 batches of irradiated blankets, the cathode processor has consolidated up to 42 kg of product in a batch, 125 kg of blanket product have been cast, and the blanket element chopper is operational.
Significant accomplishments in waste activities include the following. The stainless steel-zirconium alloy continues as the metal waste form. The test matrix for qualification testing has been established. Three of three full batches of irradiated cladding hulls have been cast. Spiked and cold samples castings are complete, and waste qualification testing has started. Glass-bonded sodalite is the ceramic waste form. Initial uranium and plutonium studies are available. Nonradioactive demonstration-scale equipment testing is complete. Equipment has been installed in the Hot Fuel Examination Facility. Laboratory-scale samples containing plutonium for accelerated alpha decay tests have been fabricated. At the time of the meeting (July 21, 1999), 4 of the 10 demonstration-scale cans had been processed.
A number of reports have been or will be produced by ANL relating to the demonstration project. Overall demonstration reports include Spent Fuel Demonstration Final Report, Production Operations for the Electrometallurgical Treatment of Sodium-Bonded Spent Nuclear Fuel, Analysis of Spent Fuel Treatment Demonstration Operations, and Uranium Disposition Options. Treatment operation reports can be divided into three groups: overall treatment reports, driver treatment reports, and blanket treatment reports. The overall report will be the Development of Cathode Processor and Casting Furnace Operating Conditions. Treatment operation reports include Process Description for Driver Fuel Treatment Operations and Development of the Electrorefining Process for Driver Fuel. Blanket treatment reports include Process Description for Blanket Treatment Operations and Development of the Electrorefining Process for Blanket Fuel. Waste operation and qualification reports are divided into three groups: overall waste reports, ceramic waste reports, and metal waste reports. The overall reports include Waste Form Qualification Strategy, Waste Form Acceptance Product Specifications, Waste Compliance Plan, and Waste Form Degradation and Repository Performance Modeling. The ceramic waste reports include Ceramic Waste Form Process Qualification Plan and the Ceramic Waste Form Handbook. The metal waste reports include Metal Waste Form Process Qualification Plan and the Metal Waste Form Handbook.
The Environmental Impact Statement covers sodium-bonded fuel treatment. The EBR-II spent fuel treatment