Research and development on pyrochemical treatment of spent nitride fuels for MA transmutation in JAEA
Hayashi, Hirokazu ; Sato, Takumi ; Shibata, Hiroki ; Tsubata, Yasuhiro
Transmutation of long-lived radioactive nuclides including minor actinides (MA: Np, Am, Cm) has been studied in Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA). Pb-Bi cooled sub-critical accelerator-driven system (ADS) is regarded as one of the powerful tools for transmutation of MA under the double strata fuel cycle concept. Uranium-free MA-Pu nitride fuel was chosen as the first candidate for MA transmutation. Reprocessing of spent ADS fuel and reusing MA recovered from the spent ADS fuels is necessary to improve the transmutation ratio. A pyrochemical process has been proposed as the first candidate for reprocessing of the spent nitride fuel for MA transmutation, because this technique has some advantages over aqueous process, such as the resistance to radiation damage, which is an important issue for the fuels containing large amounts of highly radioactive MA, and feasibility for recovering expensive N-15 in the spent fuels to be reused. This paper overviews the current status of the technology development, including our recent study. Development of the anode suitable for electro-refining of nitride fuels and that of the apparatus for renitridation of the metals recovered in Cd cathode for 100g-Cd scale cold tests are main topics. Evaluation of the batch sizes of each process, which is necessary for estimating the scale of the engineering-apparatus, with considering the decay heat of MA and FP, will also be introduced.