Waste characteristics of spent nuclear fuel from a pebble bed reactor
Author(s)Owen, Paul E. (Paul Edward), 1968-
Waste characteristics of spent nuclear fuel from a PBR
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Nuclear Engineering.
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A preliminary comparative assessment is made of the spent fuel characteristics and disposal aspects between a high-temperature, gas cooled, reactor with a pebble bed core (PBR) and a pressurized water reactor (PWR). There are three significant differences which impact the disposal characteristics of PBR spent pebble fuel from PWR spent fuel assemblies. Pebble bed fuel has bum-up as high as 100,000 MWD(t)/MTHM and thus, there is significantly less activity and decay heat in the fuel when it is disposed. The large amount of graphite in the waste form leads to a low power density and more waste per unit volume than a typical PWR. Pebble Fuel contains a protective layer of Silicon Carbide. The theoretical spacing of waste packages of spent pebble fuel given its unique characteristics as applied to the conditions of Yucca Mountain is of major concern when determining the cost of disposing of the larger volumes of spent pebble fuel. Graphite is a unique waste form and atypical of waste designated for Yucca Mountain. The interactions of silicon carbide with uranium oxide fuel and its implications to long term storage at the repository are examined. There are three primary conclusions to this thesis. First, the area required to store pebble fuel is less than the area required to store light water reactor spent fuel. Second, graphite has excellent characteristics as a waste form. The waste form of the spent pebble fuel is more robust and will perform better than light water reactor fuel at the United States repository at Yucca Mountain. Third, a secondary phase forms between the layers of silicon carbide and the uranium oxide fuel. The secondary phase retards the release of radionuclides to the environment.
Thesis (S.M.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Nuclear Engineering, 1999.Includes bibliographical references.
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Nuclear Engineering.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology