Chloride-Based Volatility for Waste Reduction and/or Reuse of Metallic-, Oxide- and Salt-Based Reactor Fuels
Chloride salts possess different levels of volatility at high temperatures, which can be used in targeted separations. TerraPower proposes to use a chloride-based volatility (CBV) process to separate uranium from used nuclear fuel (UNF), and investigate tunable CBV parameters to achieve a high degree of uranium recovery and thereby reduce waste volumes. Work will begin with surrogate oxide and molten salt used nuclear fuels and subsequently progress to demonstration with actual oxide UNF. CBV can be applied to metallic-, oxide-, and salt-based reactor fuels. It may be possible to reduce repository burdens by a factor of 10-20x, with prior work demonstrating recovery of better than 99% of uranium from irradiated oxide fuel. The proposed work will be used to predict performance parameters for a full-scale production line and clarify the economics of a production plant with multiple production lines.
By identifying and addressing challenges at the back end of the fuel cycle before the deployment of future AR technologies, ONWARDS will: