REDUCING THE USE OF
HIGHLY ENRICHED URANIUM IN
CIVILIAN RESEARCH REACTORS
Committee on the Current Status of and Progress Toward
Eliminating Highly Enriched Uranium Use in
Fuel for Civilian Research and Test Reactors
Nuclear and Radiation Studies Board
Division on Earth and Life Sciences
THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS
THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS 500 Fifth Street, NW Washington, DC 20001
This activity was supported by Grant No. DE-PI0000010/DE-DT0007443 from the U.S. Department of Energy, National Nuclear Security Administration. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect the views of any organization or agency that provided support for the project.
International Standard Book Number-13: 978-0-309-37918-2
International Standard Book Number-10: 0-309-37918-0
Additional copies of this report are available for sale from the National Academies Press, 500 Fifth Street, NW, Keck 360, Washington, DC 20001; (800) 624-6242 or (202) 334-3313; http://www.nap.edu/.
Cover: graphical images of research reactor cores (clockwise from top-left corner then center): Réacteur à Haut Flux (RHF) core at Institut Laue-Langevin (ILL), Grenoble, France (Image courtesy of ILL/Symetrix); the Forschungs-Neutronenquelle Heinz Maier-Leibnitz (FRM-II) core (courtesy of Technische Universität München); the Neutron Beam Split-Core Reactor (NBSR) core (courtesy of the National Institute for Standards and Technology Center for Neutron Research); the MIR.M1 core (courtesy of the Joint Stock Company “State Scientific Center—Research Institute of Atomic Reactors,” Russia); the High Flux Isotope Reactor (HFIR) core (courtesy of Oak Ridge National Laboratory); the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Nuclear Research Reactor (MITR-II) core (courtesy of Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Nuclear Reactor Laboratory); the Belgian Reactor 2 (BR2) core (courtesy of Studiecentrum voor Kernenergie·Centre d’Étude de l’Énergie Nucléaire); the Advanced Test Reactor (ATR) core (courtesy of Idaho National Laboratory); and the Missouri University Research Reactor (MURR) core (courtesy of the University of Missouri Research Reactor Center).
Copyright 2016 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Printed in the United States of America
Suggested citation: National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Reducing the Use of Highly Enriched Uranium in Civilian Research Reactors. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.
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COMMITTEE ON THE CURRENT STATUS OF AND PROGRESS TOWARD ELIMINATING HIGHLY ENRICHED URANIUM USE IN FUEL FOR CIVILIAN RESEARCH AND TEST REACTORS
Julia M. Phillips, Chair, Sandia National Laboratories (retired), Albuquerque, New Mexico
Pablo Adelfang, International Atomic Energy Agency (retired), Vienna, Austria
Gerald Gabrielse, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts
Alexander Glaser, Princeton University, New Jersey
David W. Johnson, Jr., Journal of the American Ceramic Society, Westerville, Ohio
Patrick Lemoine, Commissariat à l’Energie Atomique et aux Energies Alternatives (retired), Paris, France
William R. Martin, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
Roger Pynn, Indiana University, Bloomington
William H. Tobey, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts
Paul P. H. Wilson, University of Wisconsin, Madison
Pavel Podvig, Princeton University, New Jersey, and Russian Nuclear Forces Project, Geneva, Switzerland
Jennifer (Jenny) Heimberg, Senior Program Officer, Nuclear and Radiation Studies Board
Darlene Gros, Senior Program Assistant, Nuclear and Radiation Studies Board
Toni Greenleaf, Financial and Administrative Associate, Nuclear and Radiation Studies Board
NUCLEAR AND RADIATION STUDIES BOARD
Robert C. Dynes, Chair, University of California, San Diego
Barbara J. McNeil, Vice Chair, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts
David J. Brenner, Columbia University, New York, New York
Margaret S. Y. Chu, M.S. Chu & Associates, LLC, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Michael L. Corradini, University of Wisconsin, Madison
Carol M. Jantzen, Savannah River National Laboratory, Aiken, South Carolina
Tissa H. Illangasekare, Colorado School of Mines, Golden
Martha S. Linet, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland
Fred A. Mettler, Jr., New Mexico VA Health Care System, Albuquerque
Nancy Jo Nicholas, Los Alamos National Laboratory, New Mexico
Daniel O. Stram, University of Southern California, Los Angeles
Sergey Vladimirovich Yudintsev, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow
Kevin D. Crowley, Director
Jennifer (Jenny) Heimberg, Senior Program Officer
Ourania Kosti, Senior Program Officer
Toni Greenleaf, Administrative and Financial Associate
Laura D. Llanos, Administrative and Financial Associate
Darlene Gros, Senior Program Assistant
A number of individuals and organizations contributed to the successful completion of this report. The committee wishes to thank the study sponsor, the U.S. Department of Energy, National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), for supporting this project, and especially the following staff:
Christopher Landers, Sr., Program Manager (previously), Office of Conversion, Office of Material Management and Minimization (M3), NNSA
Jeffrey Chamberlin, Director, Office of Conversion, M3, NNSA
Sarah Dickerson, M3, NNSA
Kristen Peters, NNSA
Bryan Reed, NNSA
Crystal Trujillo, NNSA
The committee wishes to also thank Jordi Roglans-Ribas (Argonne National Laboratory [ANL]) and John Stevens (ANL) for responding to its many technical questions and data requests.
The following organizations provided full cooperation with the Academies on this study and provided technical and logistical assistance to the committee:
- Babcock and Wilcox Technologies (BWXT): Gunes Argon, Joel Burch, John Erwin, Brenda S. Hancock, Howard Harvey, Dave Navolio, Scott Niedzialek, Harold “Chip” Shaffer, and Carl Yates
- Center for Energy and Security Studies: Anton Khlopkov
- Commissariat à l’Energie Atomique et aux Energies Alternatives (CEA): Marc Delpech, Daniel Iracane, and Pierre-Yves Thro
- Compagnie pour l’Étude et la Réalisation de Combustibles Atomiques (CERCA): Dominique Geslin
- Idaho National Laboratory (INL): John Bumgardner, Joe Campbell, Irina Glagolenko, Shawn Hill, Mitch Meyer, Debbie Morgan, Sean Morrell, Keith Penny, Sara Prentice, Barry Rabin, Adam Robinson, Kenneth E. Rosenberg, Colleen Shelton-Davis, and Nic Woolstenhulme
- Institut Laue-Langevin (ILL): Yoann Calzavara, Patrizia Cuccari, Hervé Guyon, Isabelle Petit, Charles Simon, and William G. Stirling
- International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA): Joan (Joanie) Dix and Frances Marshall
- Joint Stock Company State Scientific Center—Research Institute of Atomic Reactors (JSC SSC RIAR): Elena Agybaeva, Alexey L. Izhutov, Rostislav A. Kuznetsov, and Alexander Tuzov
- Narodowe Centrum Badań Jądrowych (NCBJ): Andrzej Gołąb, Grzegorz Krzysztoszek, Marek Migdal, Krzysztof Pytel, and Grzegorz Wrochna
- National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST): Robert Dimeo, J. Michael Rowe, Robert Williams, and Melissa Zeltman
- Nuclear Research and Consultancy Group (NRG): Frodobertus (Frodo) C. Klaassen, Rosalie M. A. Twisk-Meijer, and Niels Unger
- Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL): Douglas Burkes and Jared Wight
- Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL): Teresa Ault, Sheri Coffey, Allison Hummel, Tim Powers, David G. Renfro, and Alan Tennant
- Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS): Vladimir E. Fortov, Valentin B. Ivanov, Boris F. Myasoedov, Yuri K. Shiyan, and Sergey V. Yudintsev
- Russian State Atomic Energy Corporation “Rosatom”: Nikolay V. Arkhangelsky
- Studeicentrum voor Kernergie-Centre d’Etude de l’Energie Nucléaire (SCK·CEN): Monique Alen, Brigitte Gomand, Edgar Koonen, Sven Van den Berghe, Geert Van den Branden, and Eric van Walle
- Technische Universität München (TUM): Harald Breitkreutz, Elisabeth Jörg-Müller, Winfried Petry, and Anton Röhrmoser
- University of Missouri Research Reactor Center (MURR): Ralph Butler, Leslie Foyto, and Margee Stout
- Y-12 National Security Complex: Becky Eddy, Lloyd Jollay, and Hollie Longmire.
Of course, the success of this project is due in large part to the high-quality of presentations provided by the speakers and presenters, who are listed in Appendix C.
This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the Academies in making its published report as sound as possible and will ensure that this 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 deliberative process. We thank the following individuals for their participation in the review of this report:
- Nikolay V. Arkhangelsky, Rosatom, Moscow, Russia
- Matthew Bunn, Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, Cambridge, Massachusetts
- Joanie Dix, IAEA, Vienna, Austria
- Richard L. Garwin, IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center, Yorktown Heights, New York
- Carol M. Jantzen, Savannah River National Laboratory, Aiken, South Carolina
- James E. Matos, ANL, Illinois
- Richard A. Meserve, Carnegie Institute for Science (retired), Washington, D.C.
- Dana A. Powers, Sandia National Laboratories, Albuquerque, New Mexico
- J. Michael Rowe, NIST, Gaithersburg, Maryland
- Sven Van den Berghe, SCK·CEN, Mol, Belgium
Although the reviewers listed above provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions and recommendations of this report, nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by John F. Ahearne, Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society (retired), and Milton Levenson, independent consultant and formerly of Bechtel International (retired). They were responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institu-
tional procedures and that all review comments were considered carefully. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring committee and the institution.
The committee is also grateful for the outstanding assistance provided by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine staff in preparing this report. Study director Jenny Heimberg was a veritable repository of relevant knowledge and information and provided both the support and drive to enable the study to be delivered on time. Darlene Gros, senior program assistant, served as the logistical wizard for the many far-flung site visits and meetings. The wisdom, experience, and network of Kevin Crowley, director of the Nuclear and Radiation Studies Board (NRSB), were also invaluable. Rita Guenther, senior program officer for the Committee on International Security and Arms Control (CISAC), expertly guided a subset of the committee through Russia, including Moscow and Dimitrovgrad. Ourania Kosti, senior program officer (NRSB), and Toni Greenleaf, financial and administrative associate (NRSB), also contributed greatly to producing this report. Special thanks goes to Pavel Podvig (Princeton University) who served as technical consultant on Russian research reactors to the committee.
The expertise needed to cover the areas within our scope was remarkably broad, and the committee membership reflected this diversity. The committee members brought to the study deep knowledge of materials science; nonproliferation policy; nuclear engineering; research reactor fuel design, fabrication, and qualification; reactor operations; research reactor performance analysis (neutronics, thermal hydraulic analysis, accident analysis); research reactor regulation; as well as invaluable international and historical perspectives.
Our meetings were characterized by a rare combination of wisdom gained from years of experience in the field, deep curiosity about things that were new to us, and a willingness to challenge conventional thinking. The sometimes spirited dialogue was always characterized by a level of respect and collegiality that is too often elusive in difficult conversations. The opportunity to lead this distinguished group has truly been a privilege. I thank the members of the committee for their dedication, willingness to teach and to learn, and unfailing good humor.
Julia Phillips, Chair