Argonne Video Highlights Nuclear Fuel Recycling Research

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Argonne Video Highlights Nuclear Fuel Recycling Research

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A closed fuel cycle that uses existing recycling technology for nuclear fuel could provide thousands of years worth of power using only the uranium mined to date. To that end, scientists at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago are refining a technique known as pyroprocessing that uses an electrical current run through molten salts to chemically separate fission products and transuranics from usable uranium left in spent reactor fuel. This video offers a broad overview of that research, including its potential for fueling an advanced fast-spectrum reactor.

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  • Fascinating process.

  • This video is exceedingly misleading in several respects. The combination of fast reactors and pyroprocessing would be an uneconomical way to produce electricity. Fast reactors cost more than conventional light water reactors and the closed fuel cycle cost more than the open fuel cycle.

    Tom Cochan

  • Why is this processes name -  pyroprocessing?  I see "typical" electrochemicaly engineering process.  This is not pyro- or firerefining uranium . This is classical electrolise molten salt.

    Dundersztyc

  • Mr. Tom Cochan,

    That was a huge really dumb statement.  What are your assumtions? I've done an economic study on pyroprocessing which convinced me and others that pyroprocessing represented a sound economic proposition. Further Fast Reacotrs (IFRs) are by design less costly to build based on number of physical advantages--low pressure, lighter, and a smaller foot print to name a few.  

    Joe Shuster

  • The economics of building fast reactors and pyroprocessors can be improved by experience, in much the same way as every manufacturing process can be improved. The demonstration phase for pyroprocessing should have been started at least two decades ago, but the political establishment in the United States came to a conclusion that there was no longer any need for advancements in nuclear energy. The Integral Fast Reactor project was defunded in 1994 and the President actually stated that he was suggesting that action as a budget saving measure targeting unnecessary investments in advanced nuclear energy research.

    Nuclear energy is reliable and emission free; it would sure be nice to leave behind a power system to future generations that met those descriptors AND had a technical solution enabling a fuel supply that could last for thousands of years.

    Rod Adams, Publisher, Atomic Insights