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Technology assessment of spent nuclear fuel reprocessing
KTH, School of Chemical Science and Engineering (CHE).
2012 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesisAlternative title
Teknisk utvärdering av upparbetning av utbränt kärnbränsle (Swedish)
Abstract [en]

An assessment of the status of reprocessing with PUREX process was made. The study was composed of three main tasks: 1) an evaluation of the nuclear fuel, its composition and characteristics before it is irradiated in a reactor and after, to answer the question why is reprocessing necessary for the fuel to be recycled; 2) an analysis of the technical potential, developments and difficulties of the PUREX process and 3) an evaluation of environmental aspects of the reprocessing. To carry out the tasks a literature study and analysis were conducted.

The conclusions of the study are that: 1) after irradiation in a reactor, fissile material is still present in the spent nuclear fuel, but it needs to be separated from undesired products in order to be recycled; 2) long history of the PUREX process together with continuous development and optimisation resulted in a technically well-functioning process and 3) recycling of the nuclear fuel is beneficial energetically, but improvement in utilisation of uranium resource is moderate, with additional wastes of low radioactivity produced, large amount of which is released to the environment is a drawback.

Technical and environmental aspects of the PUREX reprocessing are important but not the biggest issues; in reality it is rather economical aspect and political decision that are the motivating factors for choosing the reprocessing as a strategy for the nuclear fuel cycle.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. , 51 p.
Keyword [en]
environment, nuclear fuel cycle, recycling, reprocessing, spent nuclear fuel
National Category
Chemical Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-91073OAI: diva2:508056
Subject / course
Nuclear Chemistry
Educational program
Master of Science in Engineering - Vehicle Engineering
Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics
Available from: 2012-03-07 Created: 2012-03-07 Last updated: 2012-03-07Bibliographically approved

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