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U. S. Committee on the Internationalization of the Civilian Nuclear Fuel Cycle Committee on International Security and Arms Control, Policy and Global Affairs Nuclear and Radiation Studies Board Division on Earth and Life Sciences Russian Committee on the Internationalization of the Civilian Nuclear Fuel Cycle RUSSIAN ACADEMY OF SCIENCES
THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS 500 Fifth Street, N.W. Washington, DC 20001 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 study was supported by Grants from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the Carnegie Corporation of New York. Additional support was provided by the Russian Academy of Sciences. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the organizations or agencies that provided support for the project. International Standard Book Number: 13-978-0-309-12660-1 Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 10-0-309-12660-6 A limited number of complimentary copies are available from the Committee on International Security and Arms Control, National Academy of Sciences, 500 Fifth Street, N.W., Washington, DC 20001; +202-334- 2811. Additional copies of this report are available from the National Academies Press, 500 Fifth Street, N.W., Lockbox 285, Washington, DC 20055; (800) 624-6242 or (202) 334-3313 (in the Washington metropolitan area); Internet, http://www.nap.edu. Copyright 2009 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America.
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. Ralph J. Cicerone 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. Charles M. Vest 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. Harvey V. Fineberg 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 Academyâs 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. Ralph J. Cicerone and Dr. Charles M. Vest are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council. www.national-academies.org
COMMITTEE ON THE INTERNATIONALIZATION OF THE CIVILIAN NUCLEAR FUEL CYCLE NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES JOHN F. AHEARNE, (Chair), Sigma XI ROBERT J. BUDNITZ, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory MATTHEW BUNN, Harvard University WILLIAM F. BURNS, Major General (USA, retired) STEVE FETTER, University of Maryland ROSE GOTTEMOELLER, Carnegie Moscow Center MILTON LEVENSON, Bechtel International (retired) COMMITTEE ON THE INTERNATIONALIZATION OF THE CIVILIAN NUCLEAR FUEL CYCLE RUSSIAN ACADEMY OF SCIENCES NIKOLAY P. LAVEROV, (Chair), Russian Academy of Sciences VALERY S. BEZZUBTSEV, Rostekhnadzor ALEXANDER V. BYCHKOV, Research Institute of Atomic Reactors VALENTIN B. IVANOV, Institute of Ore Deposits, Petrography, Mineralogy, and Geochemistry BORIS F. MYASOEDOV, Russian Academy of Sciences VLADISLAV A. PETROV, Institute of Ore Deposits, Petrography, Mineralogy, and Geochemistry MIKHAIL I. SOLONIN, Technology and Innovation Center of the TVEL Corporation National Research Council Staff MICAH D. LOWENTHAL, Study Director, Nuclear and Radiation Studies Board ANNE M. HARRINGTON, Director, Committee on International Security and Arms Control RITA S. GUENTHER, Senior Program Associate, Committee on International Security and Arms Control Russian Academy of Sciences Staff YURI K. SHIYAN, Director, Office for North American Scientific Cooperation v
PREFACE AND ACKNOWLEDGMENTS The so-called nuclear renaissance has increased worldwide interest in nuclear power. This potential growth also has increased, in some quarters, concern that nonproliferation considerations are not being given sufficient attention. In particular, since the introduction of many new power reactors will lead to requiring an increase in uranium enrichment services to provide the reactor fuel, the proliferation risk of adding enrichment facilities in countries that do not have them now led to proposals to provide the needed fuel without requiring new indigenous enrichment facilities. Similar concerns exist for reprocessing facilities. In 2006, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Mohamed ElBaradei, Russian President Vladimir V. Putin, and U.S. President George W. Bush each announced plans to assure the provision of fuel to countries that want to develop nuclear power. The proposals were aimed at dissuading these countries from building uranium enrichment plants because such plants could be used to produce weapons-usable highly enriched uranium. In the spring of 2006, members of the Committees on International Security and Arms Control of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences (NAS) and the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS), which have had a productive partnership for more than 25 years, met with each other, with senior officials in their respective governments, and with Director General ElBaradei to identify issues of national and international importance on which independent advice from the two academies would be useful. With funding from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the Carnegie Corporation of New York, two committees with members appointed by the NAS and the RAS, working jointly, produced this report analyzing the proposals and options for future international nuclear fuel cycles, including the incentives that might be required for countries to accept fuel assurance guarantees and not develop enrichment or reprocessing facilities, as well as technical fuel-cycle issues. The statement of task for this study can be found in Appendix A. The task notes that this report is not intended to cover the policy and technical aspects of international fuel cycles comprehensively. Rather, the joint committees summarize key issues and analyses, offer some criteria for evaluating options, and make findings and recommendations to help the United States, the Russian Federation, and the international community reduce proliferation and other risks as nuclear power is used more widely. This report is intended for all those who are concerned about the need for assuring fuel for new reactors and at the same time limiting the spread of nuclear weapons. This audience includes the United States and Russia, other nations that currently supply nuclear material and technology, many other countries contemplating starting or growing nuclear power programs, and the international organizations that support the safe, secure functioning of the international nuclear fuel cycle, most prominently the International Atomic Energy Agency. Fuel assurance proposals have been discussed in conferences and journal articles. However, to receive input from the countries that might use the fuel assurance program, the joint committees held a workshop at the IAEA in April 2007, where people from eight countries presented their opinions or comments on the fuel assurance programs. While not officially representing their governments, these experts provided valuable insights into the issues that must vii
be addressed for the fuel assurance programs to succeed. Appendix B of the report contains a summary of the workshop. The joint committees also addressed technologies being developed for new approaches to reprocessing (also called recycling and regeneration) and possible advanced reactors. While these discussions are necessarily limited due to the technologies being in the early stages of development or existing only as concepts, some advantages and disadvantages are discussed. The joint committees addressed the different elements of the statement of task at different levels. Much of Part B of the task calls for comparisons of technologies in Russia with those envisaged in the United States. The Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP) comprises two initiatives from President George W. Bush. One is an international initiative beginning with an accord expressing the signatoriesâ guiding principles for expansion of nuclear power. The other is a domestic nuclear energy and fuel cycle technology initiative with seven different goals. The international initiative has garnered dozens of partners. The domestic technology initiative has shifted its focus, emphasis, and timeline several times over the course of the study. These changes were significant, from switches among advanced fuel processing technologies that are mostly in the research phase and evolutionary commercial fuel-processing technologies to different fuels manufactured with as-yet-to-be-developed technologies. For these reasons, the joint committees were unable to compare the concrete Russian technological options with the multitude under consideration in GNEP. Because the Russian approaches have been developed more fully and in many cases the Russian government has selected particular approaches for deployment, these approaches are described in more detail in this report than the early-stage concepts being considered in the U.S. Technologies in related areas being pursued in other countries were beyond the joint committeesâ charge, and are considered only in passing here. We wish to thank the IAEA, especially Director General Mohamed ElBaradei, Deputy Director General Yuri Sokolov, and Tariq Rauf for their support of our international workshop held in Vienna. We also thank Alan MacDonald of the IAEA for his substantial assistance in arranging the workshop. We thank the workshop attendees and the presenters at the joint committee meetings in the United States and Russia who provided us with their expert knowledge (see Appendix E). We especially thank Yuri Shiyan of the RAS, Micah Lowenthal, NAS Study Director, and Rita Guenther of the NAS. Without the tireless work of these three individuals, the report would not have been completed. This joint study addresses some of the serious international issues connecting the spread of nuclear power and nonproliferation concerns. The NAS and RAS have met and worked together for many decades on issues related to science and technology, including decades of dialogues and, more recently, joint studies on international security problems. We strongly believe that inhibiting the spread of nuclear weapons capabilities while promoting better access to safe, clean energy is in the interests of Russia, the United States, and the larger world community. It is precisely at times like these, then, that cooperation is needed between our scientific communities to help focus on those common interests and promote efforts toward common goals. The need for such cooperation grows under the conditions we see today. John F. Ahearne Nickolay P. Laverov Committee Co-Chair Committee Co-Chair U.S. National Academies Russian Academy of Sciences viii
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the National Academiesâ Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their review of this report: R. Stephen Berry, The University of Chicago; Leonid Bolshov, Institute of Nuclear Safety; Douglas Chapin, MPR Associates, Inc.; Richard Garwin, IBM Watson Research Center (retired); David McAlees, Siemens Corporation (retired); Alan McDonald, IAEA; Leonam dos Santos GuimarÃ£es, Eletronuclear; Ashot Sarkisov, Institute of Nuclear Safety; Lawrence Scheinman, Center for Nonproliferation Studies; Mohamed Shaker, Egyptian Council for Foreign Affairs; Frank von Hippel, Princeton; Vassily Velichkin, Institute for Geology and Mineralogy; and Ray Wymer, ORNL (retired). Although the reviewers listed above have provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions or recommendations, nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Christopher Whipple, ENVIRON, and Harold Forsen, Bechtel Corporation. Appointed by the National Academies, they were responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring joint committees and the institution. ix
CONTENTS SUMMARY 1 1 INTRODUCTION 9 WHY IS THERE INTEREST NOW IN NUCLEAR POWER?, 12 THE PROLIFERATION PROBLEM IN MORE DETAIL, 15 FUEL FABRICATION, 18 2 INTERNATIONAL NUCLEAR FUEL CYCLE CENTERS 25 WHAT IMPACT CAN SUCH CENTERS AND ASSURED FUEL SUPPLY IN GENERAL HAVE ON NONPROLIFERATION ISSUES?, 27 ECONOMIC ASPECTS OF THE NUCLEAR FUEL CYCLE, 30 NON-ECONOMIC ASPECTS OF THE NUCLEAR FUEL CYCLE, 35 INTERNATIONAL MANAGEMENT OF SPENT FUEL, 40 INTERNATIONAL CENTERS AND THE RISK OF TECHNOLOGY LEAKAGE, 43 INTERNATIONAL CENTERS FOR TRAINING NUCLEAR PERSONNEL, 43 VARIANTS ON MULTINATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL OWNERSHIP AND CONTROL, 50 3 FUEL REGENERATION OPTIONS TO SUPPORT AN INTERNATIONAL NUCLEAR FUEL CYCLE 57 COMPARING NUCLEAR OPTIONS: THE NEED FOR A SYSTEMS APPROACH, 57 EVALUATING CURRENTLY PROPOSED SYSTEMS, 62 WHY âACCEPTABLE LEVEL OF DESTRUCTION OF ACTINIDESâ IS NOT WELL DEFINED TECHNICALLY, 67 IMPROVED FAST REACTORS, 71 SMALL, SELF-CONTAINED, DEPLOYABLE REACTORS, 72 HIGH BURN-UP FUELS, 73 THORIUM FUEL CYCLES, 76 DRY METHODS FOR FUEL SEPARATIONS, 78 VIBROPACKING PROCEDURE, 79 CLOSING THOUGHTS ON NEW TECHNOLOGIES, 80 COMPARISON OF PROCESSES FOR SEPARATION OF FISSILE AND OTHER MATERIALS FROM SPENT OR IRRADIATED NUCLEAR FUEL, 82 xi
LIST OF ACRONYMS 89 REFERENCES 91 APPENDIXES A STATEMENT OF TASK 97 B SUMMARY OF THE NAS-RAS WORKSHOP ON INTERNATIONALIZATION OF THE CIVILIAN NUCLEAR FUEL CYCLE 99 C THE STRATEGY OF NUCLEAR ENERGY DEVELOPMENT IN RUSSIA 135 D AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE GOVERNMENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA AND THE GOVERNMENT OF THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION FOR COOPERATION IN THE FIELD OF PEACEFUL USES OF NUCLEAR ENERGY 141 E LIST OF COMMITTEE MEETINGS AND SPEAKERS 153 F COMMITTEE MEMBER BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES 155 xii