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Merits and Viability of Different Nuclear Fuel Cycles and Technology Options and the Waste Aspects of Advanced Nuclear
December 7, 2020 - December 8, 2020
A committee of the National Academies will hold a virtual meeting December 7-8, 2020 on the “Merits and Viability of Different Nuclear Fuel Cycles and Technology Options and the Waste Aspects of Advanced Nuclear”.
This study responds to a congressional mandate in the FY2020 Appropriations Act’s Conference Report in the subsection titled “Used Nuclear Fuel Disposition R&D,” which calls for the Academies to “evaluate the merits and viability of different nuclear fuel cycles and technology options, including both existing and future technologies” and will examine “the waste aspects of advanced reactors.” The study will result in two reports produced by a committee of experts convened by the Academies. The reports will contain consensus findings and recommendations to advise the Department of Energy, Congress, and other relevant stakeholders.
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine will appoint an ad hoc committee of experts to evaluate and assess: (1) the merits and viability of different nuclear fuel cycles and technology options and (2) the waste aspects of advanced nuclear reactors (that could be commercially deployed within the next 30 years). A consensus report will be produced to respond to each topic.
The first report will:
- Evaluate the merits and viability of different nuclear fuel cycles and technology options, including both existing and future technologies and particularly consider the relevant work performed by the fuel cycle program of the Department of Energy’s Office of Nuclear Energy (DOE-NE), but not exclusively consider this program.
- Account for linkages among all elements of the fuel cycle (including waste transportation, storage, and disposal associated with the front-end as well as back-end of the fuel cycle) and for broader safety, security, and nonproliferation concerns.
The second report will:
- Account for typical volumes and characteristics of waste streams from various proposed advanced nuclear reactor technologies, including radioisotopes of concern, radioactivity level, and thermal load and include the designs under consideration by the Generation IV International Forum and by the Department of Energy, and including non-fuel radioactive wastes, for example, graphite blocks that are used in high-temperature gas-cooled reactors.
- Evaluate disposal and storage requirements for these wastes.
- Assess the impact of possible reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel on waste generation.
- Examine the economics of the possible waste disposal systems that could be required for advanced reactors.
The two consensus reports will provide findings and recommendations that may consider evidence-based policy options.