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A Study on the criticality safety for the direct disposal of used nuclear fuel in Japan; Application of burnup credit to the criticality safety evaluation for the disposal canister

Yamamoto, Kento; Akie, Hiroshi; Suyama, Kenya

Japan has recently started to study the technical issues for the direct disposal of the used nuclear fuel (UNF) to prepare various disposal options. The criticality safety is important for the direct disposal because of the presence of certain amount of the fissile nuclides in UNF. This paper gives the outline of the research to be addressed in this field and the relevant studies in Japan. Especially, it presents the first result of the criticality safety evaluation for a disposal canister model adopting burnup credit. The uncertainties of effective neutron multiplication factor ($$k_{eff}$$) caused by the depletion calculation errors as well as the effect of the axial burnup profile and the horizontal burnup gradient on $$k_{eff}$$ were also evaluated. It was found that the $$k_{eff}$$ including these uncertainties and conservatism was below 0.95 for the representative used PWR fuel when the fuel assemblies and the disposal canister were assumed to keep intact.

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