Research > Program No. 3: Nuclear Fuel Cycle

Program No. 3: Nuclear Fuel Cycle

The objective of the program is to extend and build up a research infrastructure to support the back end of the nuclear fuel cycle, i.e. specifically aimed at developing radioactive waste (RAO) processing and preparation technologies, studying the conditions in a deep geological repository and their effects on the materials of construction of casks/canisters to be used for disposal of high-level RAO and spent nuclear fuel, including study of radionuclide movements through rock formations, in which the construction of a deep geological repository is planned. Another area of interest within this program will be the development of a unique technology to separate fission and activation products from spent nuclear fuel, which can be applied to close the fuel cycle of the GEN III+ and GEN IV reactors using modern oxide fuels with inert matrices, nitride fuels, carbide fuels and liquid fuels, to which the known hydrometallurgical processes implemented on an industrial scale (PUREX process and its modification) cannot be applied to the full extent. An integral part of this research program will be the chemical-analytical laboratory that will be aimed at studying the environmental impact of the back end of the fuel cycle.

 

Objectives of the JPC Program

Objective 1
Development of new fuel cycle technologies for fluorite technology-based nuclear reactors of new generations.

Objective 2
Building a technology platform for international cooperation in the area of research and development of molten salt technologies and separation technologies.

Objective 3
Development of advanced technologies and technological procedures for RAO disposal and minimization.

Objective 4
Research and development of new materials and principles for more effective and safe disposal of RAO.

Objective 5
Building a scientific-technology platform to support the construction of a deep geological repository in theCzech Republic.

Objective 6
Development of new methods for very low activity detection of long-lived radionuclides in very small sample sizes.

Objective 7
Development of new methods for very low concentration detection of toxic substances.

 

Users

  • Institutes responsible for the management of spent nuclear fuel and associated activities, e.g. operators of spent nuclear fuel and RAO repositories,
  • Operators of nuclear power plants, who will be provided with the result in the form of publications, operating procedures, certified methodologies and project documentation leading to minimization of the amount of radioactive wastes, thus having a positive impact on operators of nuclear units by saving costs related to waste management and enabling them to use free staff capacities specifically in other areas, e.g. decontamination,
  • Operators of radioactive waste repositories. As a result, their amount of waste disposed of will be reduced thus allowing for a reduction in storage capacity of new repositories, subsequently leading to cost reduction,
  • Public supervisory bodies, designers, suppliers and users of new nuclear units, which, within the improvement of passive safety, should be equipped with molten corium location systems using protective stabilizing elements, i.e. so-called sacrificial materials,
  • Cooperative research-development workplaces in the EU and theRussian Federation. The results will be provided in the form of publications, operating procedures and documents for designers. In the context of cooperation, a workplace will submit prepared samples of corium for further joint research. The nature of the laboratory will allow performance of high-temperature RAO disposal tests by so-called “cold crucible”, thus increasing the range of users by other producers of RAO,
  • Organizations dealing with planning and construction of deep geological repositories for radioactive waste (for example, RAWRA in the Czech Republic) as basic inputs for safety assessment of a barrier system of a deep geological repository for radioactive waste, documentation of material properties for manufacturers of high-level waste storage casks to be placed in a deep geological repository, who can develop new materials or improve their own products using this result,
  • Public authorities (e.g. MŽP, MPO) that will use the results of work in a research facility and R&D programs to improve and simplify the system of environmental impact assessment of an energy complex,
  • IAEA to strengthen the nuclear safety system in the area of guarantees; the result will be used by IAEA member states.

 

Head of the department

Ing. Lucie Karásková Nenadálová, Ph.D.

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