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Reprocessing Used Nuclear Fuel A technological overview & proposal for Yucca Mountain Augustus Merwin Presented to the National Security Forum 3-26-15.

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Presentation on theme: "Reprocessing Used Nuclear Fuel A technological overview & proposal for Yucca Mountain Augustus Merwin Presented to the National Security Forum 3-26-15."— Presentation transcript:

1 Reprocessing Used Nuclear Fuel A technological overview & proposal for Yucca Mountain Augustus Merwin Presented to the National Security Forum

2 There is NO “Waste” Waste is a chemistry term for a product that has been burned to completion Used Nuclear Fuel (UNF) has 1,000,000 times the energy density of gasoline 2

3 What is Used Nuclear Fuel? 3 japanfocus.org

4 Plutonium Currently there are ~77,000 tons of UNF in the US containing ~770 tons of Pu That is 8 times the US defense stockpile of Pu This quantity of material is sufficient to produce 4x10 7 MWdays of electricity That is enough energy to power 100% of the US for more than 100 years! 4

5 Reprocessing & Recycling Wiki.uiowa.edu 5

6 Benefits of R&R Reduce the quantity of material by 97% The remaining material is safe within 300 years We can confidently design a repository to house 2,000 tons of UNF that will last 300 years This would settle even Harry Reid’s fears 6

7 The Old Problem with Reprocessing Reprocessing technology is fundamentally linked to nuclear weapons technology India detonated the “Smiling Buddha” in 1974 using Pu isolated using PUREX reprocessing President Carter banned reprocessing as a result President Reagan reversed the ban, but the psychological damage was done 7

8 A Global Prospective The US has lost global superiority in nuclear technology The French corporation Areva is the contractor responsible for all reprocessing facilities world wide EVEN THE US PROGRAM! France, Russia, Japan, and S. Korea make up the modern nuclear export countries All of this is based on US technology 8

9 Proliferation and the US Fuel Cycle There are 435 nuclear reactors in 31 countries More than 35 countries have the nuclear know how necessary to build a bomb How much difference does the US fuel cycle make? bbc.co.uk 9

10 Defense Materials The US / Russia PMDA states that each country will dispose of 34 tons of Pu using MOX fuel To date none of this material has been disposed of The US MOX project is $3 billion over budget and years behind schedule This project is necessary to convert Pu metal into a form that is usable in current reactors 10

11 The IFR Program The Integral Fast Reactor Program was initiated to develop an advanced nuclear fuel cycle that was… Proliferation resistant Inherently safe Cost effective Scalable anl.gov 11

12 Success using EBR II All of these goals were achieved! inl.gov 12

13 Pyroprocessing if.uidaho.edu 13

14 The Difference PUREXPyroprocessing Aqueous Isolates Pu Consumes ZERO water Collects Pu with minor actinides 14

15 A Proposal for Nevada Take ownership of the UNF stockpile Develop a state trust as due compensation Use Yucca as an interim storage facility Build a pyroprocessing plant and burner reactor Sell the “carbon free” electricity to California for pure profit 15

16 The Nuclear Waste Fund The NWF has accumulated $41 billion specifically allocated to the disposition of UNF A pyroprocessing facility and reactor would cost significantly less than this sum 16

17 Benefits for the Nation Consolidate the UNF to a single secure location Negate the need for the MOX plant Fulfill 30 year old agreements with the nuclear industry Re-emerge as the world leader in advanced nuclear technology 17

18 Benefits for Nevada Create thousands of construction jobs Establish a state trust and give federal money to Nevadans Bring federal money into our schools & universities Make Nevada the world leader in nuclear technology 18


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