Minor actinide waste disposal in deep geological boreholes
Author(s)Sizer, Calvin Gregory
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Nuclear Science and Engineering.
Michael J. Driscoll.
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The purpose of this investigation was to evaluate a waste canister design suitable for the disposal of vitrified minor actinide waste in deep geological boreholes using conventional oil/gas/geothermal drilling technology. The nature of minor actinide waste was considered, paying particular attention to nuclides whose decay energy and half lives were of relative significance to the minor actinide waste as a whole. Thermal Analysis was performed based on a reference borehole design, by Ian C. Hoag. The strategy of the thermal analysis is aimed at finding peak temperatures within the configuration, paying particular attention to the heat transfer under deep geological conditions in the air gap between the canister and the borehole. A first order economic analysis was made to compare the designed canister emplacement costs to that of intact spent fuel. The results of this analysis show that three minor actinide nuclides dominate heat generation after ten years cooling: Cm-244, Am-241, and Am-243 account for 97.5% of minor actinide decay heat. These three nuclides plus Np-237 account for 99% of the minor actinide mass. The thermal analysis was based on an irretrievable canister design, consisting of a 5 meter long synroc waste form, with minor actinides loaded to 1% wt, an outer radius of 15.8 cm and inner annular radius of 8.5 cm. Filling the annulus with a vitrified technetium and iodine waste form was found to be feasible using a multi-stage emplacement process. This process would only be required for three of the fifty boreholes because technetium and iodine have low heat generations after 10 years cooling. The suggested borehole waste form has a maximum centerline temperature of 349C. The costs of drilling boreholes to meet the demand of 100,000MT of PWR waste are estimated to be 3.5% of the current nuclear waste fund, or about $9.6/kg of original spent fuel.
Thesis (S.B.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Nuclear Science and Engineering, 2006.Includes bibliographical references (leaves 63-65).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Nuclear Science and Engineering.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Nuclear Science and Engineering.