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[en] Spent fuel management is an essential component of the nuclear fuel cycle. Supporting the safe management of spent fuel, and of radioactive waste, is a key IAEA activity. We develop safety standards and guidance, publish technical reports and organize training courses, workshops and technical meetings. Last September, we devoted our annual Scientific Forum to the subject of radioactive waste management. We are organizing an international Conference on the same subject in 2016. Waste disposal is often cited as one of the major problems facing nuclear power. In fact, the nuclear industry has been managing waste disposal for more than half a century. Dozens of facilities for low level and intermediate level nuclear waste are in operation throughout the world. As far as the management of high level radioactive waste and spent fuel is concerned, good progress has been made in recent years, especially in Finland, Sweden and France. I have had an opportunity to visit the ONKALO facility in Finland, where a repository for the final disposal of spent fuel is being built deep underground, and the Hard Rock Laboratory in Sweden. They are impressive sites. I was also impressed by the briefing on the Cigéo project, which I received from the head of the French national radioactive waste management agency, Andra, during my recent visit to France. I understand that it is now at the license application stage. It will still be some years before the first deep geological repositories for nuclear spent fuel become operational. But the progress being made in this area deserves to be better known.
[en] The programs for final disposal of spent nuclear fuel are similar in Sweden and Finland, and there has been extensive cooperation between the waste management organizations in the two countries over the years. This cooperation will now be deepened, aiming when possible for the same technical design. While a technically feasible reference design and layout is presented for the repositories in the two countries, detailed designs adapted to an industrialized process designed to fulfilling specific requirements on quality, cost and efficiency need still be developed. Also the repository layout needs to be adapted to the local conditions found when constructing the repository at depth. Both SKB and Posiva have developed design requirements and other conditions and presented these to the designer. However, the formulation of requirements such that they lead to designs that both meets long term safety and can be verified is not trivial and revision and harmonization between the organizations is needed. Essentially the detailed technical design need to be completed in time for the detailed design of the planned facilities in the KBS-3 repository system, i.e. the encapsulation plant, the facility for buffer and backfill bentonite component production and the underground repository. (author)
[en] Currently, Russian reprocessing of used nuclear fuel (UNF) is carried out at the radiochemical plant RT-1 (FSUE “PA “Mayak”), which was built and put into operation in the USSR in 1977. Today RT-1 has three independent process lines for treatment of VVER-440, RBMK-1000, BN-350 and BN-600 used fuels. Used fuels from research and naval propulsion reactors are also treated in one of the three process lines. RT-1 operator with the support of Rosatom is actively working to repatriate nuclear fuel from reactors of Russian origin, thus improving safety of research reactors and contributing to an ongoing IAEA programme aimed at reducing the risk of nuclear proliferation and terrorist threats. Due to the uniqueness of the technical capabilities, the reprocessing plant can manage a wide range of used nuclear fuel (UNF). At present RT-1 is undergoing modifications connected with a new programme to expand the range of UNF that can be reprocessed there. For the execution of the programme, production technology is being created to enable the recycling of UNF (including the defective one) from AMB, VVER-1000, BN-800/1200, EGP-6 and research reactors with the current RT-1 capabilities. (author)
[en] The last Conference on this topic was held in May 2010, and since then a number of challenges have happened across the world that have brought the importance of the management of spent fuel to the forefront of any nuclear energy programme, and nothing more so than the Fukushima Daiichi accident in 2011. This has, in some cases, reshaped some countries thinking on their nuclear power programmes with early closures creeping onto their agendas. Germany is an example of this, where a planned phase out in now under way for energy generated from nuclear power. The Swiss Government, on the other hand, has taken a decision not to extend or replace their existing fleet. In addition, and despite the accident at Fukushima, a number of countries are powering ahead with lifetime extensions to existing power plants, together with the implementation of some highly challenging new power plant construction programmes. This construction, being planned in places like China, the United Arab Emirates and even my country, the United Kingdom, will generate spent fuel challenges in their own right. What is clear is that whether nuclear power is being phased out, being maintained at current levels, or undergoing expansion programmes, the management of spent fuel will be key to each country’s success in their nuclear energy programme.
[en] Full text: The Government of Jordan has taken a decision in August 2013 to adopt nuclear energy as part of its energy mix, and the Jordan Atomic Energy Commission has selected RUSATOM Oversees (RAOS) as its strategic partner for the operation of Jordan’s first nuclear power plant (JNPP), which consists of two 1000-MW(e) VVER Russian PWRs (based on the AES- 92 design). During the next 18 to 24 months, final negotiations will continue with RAOS to finalize all agreements specified in the Project Development Agreement (PDA) and Inter-Government Agreement (IGA) and complete all studies necessary to make a final decision on the construction and operation of Jordan’s first NPP. Of these agreements important to the nuclear fuel cycle are the Nuclear Fuel Supply, Radioactive Waste Management, Spent Nuclear Fuel Management, and Decommissioning agreements. The signed PDA and IGA have been formulated to ensure allocation of funds for spent nuclear fuel management, radioactive waste management, and decommissioning of the JNPP. Furthermore, Jordan has obtained commitments to ensure timely supply of nuclear fuel and control rod assemblies during the life time of the JNPP. An option was also obtained by Jordan for the return of spent nuclear fuel to the Russian Federation – an option that will undergo detailed studies to determine its feasibility. Jordan also plans to utilize its vast uranium deposits to provide feed material to fuel its planned JNPP. Forging of the forthcoming agreements with RAOS will also focus on the potential utilization of uranium from planned uranium mine in Jordan that is currently scheduled for operations in 2019, in due to time that hopefully will enable fueling the JNPP with Jordanian uranium. As a newcomer to nuclear power, Jordan intends to gain from past experiences of other countries in order to avoid pitfalls associated with nuclear power plant operations, especially those related to long term management of radioactive waste and spent nuclear fuel. The International Atomic Energy Agency has been and continues to be instrumental in providing Jordan with support to establish a strong, safe, and secure nuclear energy program. This paper intends to present Jordan’s efforts and current vision in establishing a strong foundation for its nuclear power plant operations and discusses challenges associated with nuclear fuel cycle management in general and those that are specific to Jordan, especially those related to the agreements that will be forged with the Russian Parties. (author)
[en] For an open or closed fuel cycle, the management of spent fuels is characterized by several phases until final storage. Between these phases, some operations have to be performed, such as conditionings, transports or recycling. For the safety, a global strategy for spent fuel management must be developed. This strategy is important to verify the consequences of choices made at one stage on the following stages, but also to define requirements of the parameters that will be used to justify the safety of the following stages and to anticipate knowledge needs. Furthermore, the strategy implantation requires significant time for the design, the licensing and the commissioning of facilities (typically more than 10 years for each facility). A strategy must be elaborated to give time for this process and for the dialogue with stakeholders. Finally, it’s important to check that the capacities of each stage are sufficient. Regarding safety, the facilities for spent fuel management use different processes with specific safety issues. Moreover, the designs of installations with the same objectives can be different. This diversity leads to produce a safety analysis for each installation. This analysis should be at least based on shared objectives and principles. The SSG-15 guide of IAEA is a good tool for this. This approach requires also particular safety skills for the operators, the safety authorities and their technical supports. These skills are varied, take time to be developed and must be maintained. Another aspect of the safety of such installations is that the analysis of severe accidents is less developed than for NPPs. The feedback of Fukushima accident shows the necessity to work on some severe accidents. In addition to the vigilance about the normal operating conditions of these facilities, this approach should be continued because it provides safety improvements. Other challenges are the ageing of these installations and how to improve their safety. Indeed, they will be operated during a very significant time and are generally complex to modify. Periodic safety reviews are a good mean to define improvements. In any case, the operating experience feedback should be shared. In this regard, the ability to monitor the safety functions and equipment is crucial. In the parts of installations where irradiated materials are handled, controls are difficult to be performed. This issue must be taken into account in the design and, for the older installations, require developments. (author)
[en] A fully integrated spent nuclear fuel (SNF) management system involves managing SNF from the time it is discharged from a reactor to the time it is disposed of in a geologic repository. To support the US Department of Energy Office of Nuclear Energy (DOE-NE) Nuclear Fuels Storage and Transportation Planning Project (NFST) activities to lay the groundwork for implementing interim storage, including associated transportation (per the Administration’s Strategy for the Management and Disposal of Used Nuclear Fuel and High-Level Radioactive Waste), an integrated data and analysis tool has been developed. The tool is called the Used Nuclear Fuel-Storage, Transportation and Disposal Analysis Resource and Data System (UNF-ST&DARDS). UNF-ST&DARDS provides a controlled source of technical data integrated with key analysis capabilities to characterize the inputs to the overall US waste management system from reactor power production through ultimate disposition. This system is a new capability / resource that enables automated assembly-specific and cask-specific evaluations for assessing issues and uncertainties related to the extended storage and transportability of loaded canisters, supporting safety confidence and research and development prioritization, and providing a foundational data and analysis capability resource for the future. This paper provides an overview of the UNF-ST&DARDS architecture and automated analysis capabilities. (author)
[en] This paper explores how industry can help stakeholders to develop and implement successful stainable used fuel management strategies, focussing on the work of the World Nuclear Association Working Group on Sustainable Used Fuel Management. (author)
[en] A new technology of spent nuclear fuel (SNF) management at the back-end of the fuel cycle has been developed over the last twenty years. This technology is based on the concept of the shielded cask ensuring containment of its contents (SNF) and compliance with all other requirements for SNF storage and transport. Radiation protection and activity containment are ensured by physical barriers, viz. an all-metal or composite body, body linings, internal baskets for irradiated / spent fuel assemblies (SFAs) and lids with sealing systems. SFA residual heat is released to the environment by natural irradiation and natural convection of air around the cask. This report considers the key issues associated with the creation of a family of dual purpose casks for SNF from naval and nuclear ice-breaker fleet activities, RBMK-1000 and BN-350 reactors as well as their structural peculiarities. The new development on cask for transportation of SNF VVER-1000 presents also. (author)
[en] The purpose of the Coordinated Research Project (CRP) on Demonstrating Performance of Spent Fuel and Related Storage System Components during Very Long Term Storage (CRP T13014) — hereinafter CRP on Demo — started in June 2012 is to support and share improvements in the nuclear power community’s technical basis for the renewal of water reactor spent fuel dry storage licenses as durations extend. Results from the CRP on Demo are also expected to facilitate subsequent transport and disposal of spent fuel. Since the proposal of the CRP was drafted in August 2011 it was acknowledged that the Extended Storage Collaboration Program (ESCP) initiated by EPRI in November 2009 provided a broad context for the CRP on Demo which in turn could make important contributions by targeting specific needs. Accordingly, experts examined ongoing gap analyses (gap between anticipated technical needs and existing technical data) and identified ten specific research objectives and corresponding specific activities of the CRP. The CRP on Demo also aims at increase the coordination with the efforts of the Long Term Interim Storage activities performed by the Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Consequently, the CRP contributes to increase the coordination among such efforts e.g. through joint IAEA-EPRI-NEA meetings so that they yield increased joint benefits for all participants. An indication of support for the CRP on Demo is that extra-budgetary funding is provided through the US Peaceful Uses Initiative (PUI). As agreed at the First Research Coordination Meeting (RCM) held in Argentina in April 2013, those ten specific research objectives originally identified were synthesized according to the topics covered by the signed Research Contracts and Research Agreements into the following six specific research objectives: Stress Corrosion Cracking Mechanisms and Monitoring, Rod Behavior, Concrete Systems, Bolted Closure Systems, Neutron Shielding and System Demo. The paper presents how the above mentioned six specific research objectives are being addressed by the participants form Argentina, the European Commission, France, Germany, Japan, Lithuania, Pakistan, Poland, the Russian Federation, Slovenia, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States of America by highlighting the main results provided during the First and Second RCMs held in Argentina in April 2013 and Japan in November 2014, respectively. (author)