Conference Proceedings Paper
Accelerated Reduction of Used CANDU Fuel Waste with Fast-Neutron Reactors: Fuel Cycle Strategy Cuts TRU Waste Lifespan from 400,000 Years to Less than 80 Years
34th Annual CNS Conference - 2013 June 09-12
Peter Ottensmeyer (University of Toronto)
Canada’s 45,000 tonnes of nuclear fuel waste contain over 99% heavy atoms whose nuclear energy can provide $50 trillion of non-carbon electricity in fast-neutron reactors (FNRs), equivalent to 4000 years of nuclear power at present levels. FNRs can utilize the 98.9% uranium in CANDU fuel waste and also the 0.38% transuranic actinides which impose its 400,000-year radiotoxicity. Separation of uranium from CANDU nuclear fuel waste would permit refueling of FNRs primarily with transuranics, hugely accelerating the elimination of the long-term radiotoxicity of the CANDU fuel waste. Practicable separations of uranium would result in the complete elimination of the transuranics in about 80 years using FNRs at current Canadian nuclear energy output, while ideal separations could lower this to 16 years.
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