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.
Uppsala: Uppsala universitet, 2013. , 23 p.