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Proliferation resistances of Generation IV recycling facilities for nuclear fuel
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Physics, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Applied Nuclear Physics.
2013 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The effects of global warming raise demands for reduced CO2 emissions, whereas at the same time the world’s need for energy increases. With the aim to resolve some of the difficulties facing today’s nuclear power, striving for safety, sustainability and waste minimization, a new generation of nuclear energy systems is being pursued: Generation IV.

New reactor concepts and new nuclear facilities should be at least as resistant to diversion of nuclear material for weapons production, as were the previous ones. However, the emerging generation of nuclear power will give rise to new challenges to the international safeguards community, due to new and increased flows of nuclear material in the nuclear fuel cycle. Before a wide implementation of Generation IV nuclear power facilities takes place, there lies still an opportunity to formulate safeguards requirements for the next generation of nuclear energy systems. In this context, this thesis constitutes one contribution to the global efforts to make future nuclear energy systems increasingly resistant to nuclear material diversion attempts.

This thesis comprises three papers, all of which concern safeguards and proliferation resistance in Generation IV nuclear energy systems and especially recycling facilities:

In Paper I, proliferation resistances of three fuel cycles, comprising different reprocessing techniques, are investigated. The results highlight the importance of making group actinide extraction techniques commercial, due to the inherently less vulnerable isotopic and radiological properties of the materials in such processes.

Paper II covers the schematic design and safeguards instrumentation of a Generation IV recycling facility. The identification of the safeguards needs of planned facilities can act as a guide towards the development of new instrumentation suitable for Generation IV nuclear energy systems.

Finally, Paper III describes a mode of procedure for assessing proliferation resistance of a recycling facility for fast reactor fuel. The assessments may be used, as in this case, as an aid to maintain or increase the inherent proliferation resistance when performing facility design changes and upgrades.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Uppsala universitet, 2013. , 23 p.
Keyword [en]
safeguards, proliferation resistance, Generation IV, reprocessing
National Category
Other Physics Topics
Research subject
Physics with specialization in Applied Nuclear Physics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-209098OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-209098DiVA: diva2:689507
Presentation
(English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Funder
Swedish Research Council
Available from: 2014-01-21 Created: 2013-10-14 Last updated: 2014-01-21Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Assessment of proliferation resistances of aqueous reprocessing techniques using the TOPS methodology
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Assessment of proliferation resistances of aqueous reprocessing techniques using the TOPS methodology
2013 (English)In: Annals of Nuclear Energy, ISSN 0306-4549, E-ISSN 1873-2100, Vol. 62, 390-397 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The aim of this study is to assess and compare the proliferation resistances (PR) of three possible Generation IV lead-cooled fast reactor fuel cycles, involving the reprocessing techniques Purex, Ganex and a combination of Purex, Diamex and Sanex, respectively. The examined fuel cycle stages are reactor operation, reprocessing and fuel fabrication. The TOPS methodology has been chosen for the PR assessment, and the only threat studied is the case where a technically advanced state diverts nuclear material covertly.

According to the TOPS methodology, the facilities have been divided into segments, here roughly representing the different forms of nuclear material occurring in each examined fuel cycle stage. For each segment, various proliferation barriers have been assessed.

The results make it possible to pinpoint where the facilities can be improved. The results show that the proliferation resistance of a fuel cycle involving recycling of minor actinides is higher than for the traditional Purex reprocessing cycle. Furthermore, for the purpose of nuclear safeguards, group actinide extraction should be preferred over reprocessing options where pure plutonium streams occur. This is due to the fact that a solution containing minor actinides is less attractive to a proliferator than a pure Pu solution. Thus, the safeguards analysis speaks in favor of Ganex as opposed to the Purex process.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2013
Keyword
proliferation resistance, reprocessing, Generation IV, lead-cooled fast reactor
National Category
Other Physics Topics
Research subject
Physics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-205579 (URN)10.1016/j.anucene.2013.06.040 (DOI)000327170800046 ()
Note

Erratum in Annals of Nuclear Energy, 2014:66, pp 61-62, doi: 10.1016/j.anucene.2013.11.044

Available from: 2013-08-20 Created: 2013-08-20 Last updated: 2017-12-06Bibliographically approved
2. Schematic design and safeguards instrumentation of a Gen IV fuel recycling facility.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Schematic design and safeguards instrumentation of a Gen IV fuel recycling facility.
2013 (English)Conference paper, Published paper (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The sustainability criterion for Gen IV systems, inherently presumes the availability of efficient fuel recycling capabilities. Research activities concerning advanced fuel recycling are currently pursued, and one area for such research concerns safeguards aspects of recycling facilities. Since a recycling facility may be considered as sensitive from a non-proliferation perspective, it is important to address these issues early in the design process, according to the principle of Safeguards By Design.

Presented in this paper is a suggested safeguards approach for a fuel recycling facility belonging to a small Gen IV lead-cooled fast reactor system that is under study in Sweden. A schematic design of a small-scale recycling facility, where actinides are separated using group actinide solvent extraction, is put forward. Measurement points are suggested based on available information on the recycling process activities and calculated material flows.

Based on the identified need for measurements in the facility, possible techniques and instrumentation for measurements have been identified with the purpose to provide both inspecting parties and facility operators with necessary information for their respective needs. More generally, this type of analysis may be used to support Safeguards By Design in the planning of new recycling facilities.

Keyword
Gen IV, recycling, group actinide extraction, instrumentation, Safeguards By Design
National Category
Other Physics Topics
Research subject
Applied Nuclear Physics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-204141 (URN)
Conference
The 35th ESARDA Annual Meeting
Available from: 2013-07-22 Created: 2013-07-22 Last updated: 2014-01-21
3. Proliferation resistance assessments during the design phase of a fuel recycling facility as a means of reducing proliferation risks
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Proliferation resistance assessments during the design phase of a fuel recycling facility as a means of reducing proliferation risks
2013 (English)Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

The sustainability criterion for Gen IV nuclear energy systems inherently presumes the availability of efficient fuel recycling capabilities. One area for research on advanced fuel recycling concerns safeguards aspects of this type of facilities. Since a recycling facility may be considered as sensitive from a non-proliferation perspective, it is important to address these issues early in the design process, according to the principle of Safeguards By Design.

Presented in this paper is a mode of procedure, where assessments of the proliferation resistance (PR) of a recycling facility for fast reactor fuel have been performed so as to identify the weakest barriers to proliferation of nuclear material. Two supplementing established methodologies have been applied; TOPS and PR&PP. The chosen fuel recycling facility belongs to a small Gen IV lead-cooled fast reactor system that is under study in Sweden. A schematic design of the recycling facility, where actinides are separated using solvent extraction, has been examined.

The PR assessment methodologies make it possible to pinpoint areas in which the facility can be improved in order to reduce the risk of diversion. The initial facility design may then be slightly modified and/or safeguards measures may be introduced to reduce the total identified proliferation risk. After each modification of design and/or safeguards implementation, a new PR assessment of the revised system can been carried out. This way, each modification can be evaluated and new ways to further enhance the proliferation resistance can be identified.

This type of iterative procedure may support Safeguards By Design in the planning of new recycling plants and other nuclear facilities.

Keyword
Proliferation resistance, safeguards by design, reprocessing, Generation IV
National Category
Other Physics Topics
Research subject
Physics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-205866 (URN)
Conference
GLOBAL 2013: International Nuclear Fuel Cycle Conference
Available from: 2013-08-23 Created: 2013-08-23 Last updated: 2014-01-21Bibliographically approved

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