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[en] In France the complete closure of the fuel cycle can be reached in 3 steps. The first step relies on the improvement of the present fuel cycle by implementing the use of reprocessed uranium (URT) and by enlarging the use of MOX fuel from 900 MW to 1300 MW PWR. The first loading of URT fuel is planned in 2023. The second step will be the multi-recycling of plutonium. The loading of a test fuel assembly with multi-recycled Pu in a PWR core could be made in 2025-2028 and the industrial deployment may be made in 2040 at the soonest. The third step implies the development of a fleet of fast reactors that will allow a limitless recycling of spent fuels and no necessity of using enriched natural uranium. (A.C.)
[en] Whereas the ASN stated that the valorisation of a radioactive material can be considered as plausible if the existence of an industrial sector is realistic by thirty years, this document gathers thoughts and propositions made by the SFEN for a possible valorisation of depleted uranium. It first recalls how and where depleted uranium is produced and used, discusses the safety of existing warehousing conditions, and addresses related environmental, economic and strategic issues: high energy potential, issue of re-enrichment with respect to economic criteria, technical and economic opportunities beyond energy valorisation, strategic importance of a stock which guarantees energy sovereignty on the short and medium terms.
[en] Several work sites where the first reactors of the third generation are being built have encountered major difficulties with several causes. This can, in large part, be set down to the absence, for twenty years now, of big programs of this sort in the United States and Europe. The costs of the first reactors of a new generation have ballooned. Thanks to accumulated feedback, this article shows how and why tomorrow's nuclear industry will be competitive, not only as it already is in Asia but also in other geographic zones. The range of economic results presented herein is coherent with public authorities' strategic analyses. The findings are: that a program for updating France's fleet of nuclear reactors is needed and should be started fast; that the closed cycle should be pursued; and that the first phase of the Cigeo Plan (for a nuclear waste repository) should be launched. (authors)
[en] The paper describes an approach to solve the problem of closing fuel cycle of light water reactors (LWR) trough the multiple uranium recycling. Since the second uranium recycle there is a problem of full return of the recycled uranium to LWR fuel cycle due to significant increasing of U concentration and strong regulatory restrictions on its content. The paper shows that the use of a double cascade is able to provide almost complete return of recycled uranium to the fuel cycle with minor losses. The reason for the losses is the necessity to clean the recycled uranium from the U isotope. We developed a multi-criteria approach to choosing the optimal cascade scheme parameters. The efficiency of the algorithm is demonstrated by the example of enrichment of the recycled uranium of the second recycle. It is shown that not correctly selected optimization criteria of the double cascade enrichment scheme can lead to the fact that the loss of the U isotope, provided with waste treatment from U, will exceed its savings.
[en] Various ways of using reprocessed uranium and plutonium in closed nuclear fuel cycle (NFC) of thermal-neutron reactors by reprocessing spent nuclear fuel (SNF) from nuclear power plants with release of these materials and manufacturing of secondary fuel are described. (author)
[en] The aim of this annual information report is to take stock of the measures taken to prevent or to limit the potential risks of the installations according to article L. 593-1 of the French law. It reports: the incidents or accidents which occurred inside the site perimeter and the measures implemented to limit and control their impacts on the personnel and on the environment, the nature of radioactive and non-radioactive releases and their measurements, the nature and amounts of wastes warehoused at the site and the measures aiming at limiting their volume and impacts on health and on the environment (notably soils and waters). The report presents: the Tricastin site, the measures adopted in terms of risk prevention and limitation, the nuclear events, the effluents management and the environmental monitoring of the facility, the management of the installations wastes, the control of other impacts, the actions implemented for information dissemination and transparency, the Orano 'safety and environment' policy for 2017-2020, the consolidated figures of Orano's Tricastin platform, and the recommendations made by the Committee for safety and environment (CSE). A supplement to this information report is attached to the document. It presents the key figures of the group per sector of activity (chemistry, conversion, enrichment, dismantling, support to production, internal controls)
[en] A key factor in sovereignty is a country's energy independence. Since it has developed a vertically integrated nuclear industry, France is able to control the design and construction of its own installations for generating electricity, enriching uranium and making fuel through processes for recycling and waste management. It controls its supply of uranium, which is an abundant resource, via, in particular, Orano, which operates mines on three continents. Thanks to its control over this industry's vertical integration, in particular for enriching uranium and recycling spent fuel, France has stored what amounts to a strategic reserve. Nuclear materials can also be used in other fields important to the country's sovereignty, such as space or medicine. (author)
[en] In 2002, the United States Congress approved the development of a deep geological repository for SNF and other HLW at Yucca Mountain. In 2009, the project was deemed unworkable by the Administration such that no further funding was appropriated in Congress. This decision was followed by the instalment of a Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future in 2010. The Commission was tasked with conducting a comprehensive review of policies for managing the back end of the nuclear fuel cycle and to recommend a new plan. The Commission published its recommendations in 2012. It concluded that geologic disposal in a mined repository is the most promising and technically accepted option available for safely isolating HLW for very long periods of time. The Commission however also acknowledged several possible advantages of the deep borehole disposal concept, stating: “These [advantages] include the potential to achieve (compared to mined geologic repositories) reduced mobility of radionuclides and greater isolation of waste, greater tolerance for waste heat generation, modularity and flexibility in terms of expanding disposal capacity, and compatibility with a larger number and variety of possible sites. On the other hand, deep boreholes may also have some disadvantages in terms of the difficulty and cost of retrieving waste (if retrievability is desired) after a borehole is sealed, relatively high costs per volume of waste capacity, and constraints on the form or packaging of the waste to be emplaced.”
[en] An important task of the current stage of development of the existing nuclear power system is to find a configuration in which it comes to full self-sufficiency in fuel. A significant share of Russian nuclear power plants at the current stage and in the near future are thermal VVER reactors operating in the open fuel cycle. The first stage of the transition to fuel self-sufficiency can be considered the option of loading these reactors with REMIX and MOX fuel, which will improve the fuel supply indicators. The paper presents a comparison of efficiency indicators presented by the fuel component of the cost and material balance for the scenarios of nuclear power plant development with VVER reactors loaded with classical uranium and REMIX/MOX fuel. The costs of fuel handling stages were considered as variable initial parameters. The calculations were carried out using the STEM-NES software developed at NRC "Kurchatov institute".
[en] Strategic analysis of the principal spent nuclear fuel management approaches is reported as they are seen for Belarus. Particular features of open and closed fuel cycles are considered and compared. The deferred decision perspectives for the nuclear fuel cycle back-end are discussed. Few available and arising options for the back-end are analyzed taking into account modern trends and technology developments in Russian Federation as the principal supplier of nuclear technologies and in other countries. Some results of feasibility evaluations of long term spent nuclear fuel storage are presented. General requirements for the storage system are formulated. Problems and perspectives concerning the reprocessing of high burnup fuel are presented in the context related to Belarussian NPP. The topic of high level waste management arising after nuclear fuel reprocessing as well as the perspectives of direct spent fuel disposal in Belarus are briefly discussed. Possible intermediate level radioactive waste management strategies including its disposal are considered in some details. Available strategic approaches for the spent fuel management in Belarus are outlined and compared. Recommendations for the national strategy and the short-term national action plan are given. (author)