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Report No.

Design and demonstration of the prototype nitrogen circulation refining system for nitride fuel fabrication (Contract research)

Iwasa, Toma; Takano, Masahide 

Partitioning and transmutation of minor actinides (MA) is an important issue to reduce volume and radio-toxicity of high-level radioactive wastes. In Nuclear Science Research Institute, we have been carrying out R&D on MA-bearing nitride fuel for accelerator driven system. In the actual nitride fuel fabrication process, a special nitrogen gas highly enriched with $$^{15}$$N is required to avoid $$^{14}$$C production from $$^{14}$$N by (n,p) reaction in the fuel. For the economical use of such expensive gas, we need a nitrogen circulation refining system that can remove carbon monoxide (CO) evolved by carbothermic nitridation of oxides and can use the nitrogen gas in the closed system without loss. To develop the system, at first we listed up the performance requirements, and then designed and assembled a prototype system for laboratory-scale demonstration. The system consists of CO removal unit and circulation unit that can automatically keep the system pressure and the gas flow rate constant. As a result of demonstration on the nitridation of oxide, both units completely satisfy the requirements. We confirmed that the concept can be applied to the actual fuel fabrication with further additional function such as automatic hydrogen feed for the control of decarburization.



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