A Step Towards Closing the CANDU Fuel Cycle: An Innovative Scheme for Reprocessing Used CANDU Fuel
International Conference on the Future of Heavy Water Reactors - 2011 October 02-05

Presented at:
International Conference on the Future of Heavy Water Reactors
2011 October 02-05
Ottawa, Canada
Session Title:
Advanced Fuel Cycle

Frank Collins (University of New Brunswick)
Derek Lister (University of New Brunswick)


Disposal versus reprocessing costs for used CANDU fuel was recently discussed by Rozon and Lister in a report produced for the Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) [1]. Their study discussed the economic incentives for reprocessing, not for the recovery of fissile uranium but for the recovery of plutonium ash. A $370/kg break-even price of uranium was calculated, and their model was found to be very sensitive to the reprocessing costs of the chosen technology. Findings were consistent with earlier studies done by Harvard University. Various reprocessing technologies (most based on solvent extraction) have been in use for many decades, but there appears to be no conceptual engineering study available in the open literature for a spent fuel reprocessing facility – one that includes process flows, operating costs and economic analysis. A deeper engineering study of the design and economics of re-processing technologies has since been undertaken by the nuclear group at the University of New Brunswick. An improved fluorination process was developed and modeled using ASPEN® process simulation software. This study examines the impact of chosen technology on the spent fuel re-processing costs.

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