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Assessment of the potential for criticality in the far field of a used nuclear fuel repository

Atz, M.*; Salazar, A.*; Hirano, Fumio; Fratoni, M.*; Ahn, J.*

The likelihood for criticality in the far field of a repository was evaluated for direct disposal of commercial light water reactor used nuclear fuel. Two models were used in combination for this evaluation: (1) a neutronics model to estimate the minimum critical masses of spherical, water-saturated depositions of fuel material; (2) a transport model to simulate the dissolution of fuel material from multiple canisters and the subsequent transport of the solutes through host rock to a single accumulation location. The results suggest that accumulation of a critical mass is possible under conservative conditions but that these conditions are unlikely to occur, especially in the vicinity of a carefully-arranged repository.

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Category:Nuclear Science & Technology

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