Assessment of the disposability of radioactive waste inventories for a range of nuclear fuel cycles: inventory and evolution over time

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Nuclear power has been identified as a key low emissions energy source, as such an understanding of fueling and disposal requirements of different fuel cycles is essential. The effect of closing the nuclear fuel cycle on heat generating waste production has been examined by quantifying wastes and assessing thermal and radiotoxic inventories going to long-term disposal. Using fuel cycle modelling software ORION, five nuclear fuel cycles have been modelled to quantify mass, packaged volume, thermal output and composition of spent fuel and HLW, normalised to electricity generation. Evolution of decay heat and radiotoxicity over disposal time scales is presented.Compared to an open fuel cycle baseline, there is little benefit apparent in thermal or radiotoxic output, when implementing a thermal recycle, though the mass of waste going to disposal is significantly reduced. Over an order of magnitude reduction in radiotoxicity is achievable if a closed fuel cycle with interim storage was deployed with packaged volume halved. Advanced recycling of spent fuel both reduces waste volume per TWhe and allows a period of interim storage to dramatically reduce the thermal output of wastes and radiotoxic inventory going to a disposal facility.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)119826
Early online date11 Jan 2021
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2021