Completion of the “Research and Development of Electroseparation Technology for the Partitioning of SNF Components in Fluoride Melts” project
The “Research and Development of Electroseparation Technology for the Partitioning of SNF Components in Fluoride Melts” project conducted by the Nuclear Research Institute at Řež (Mr. J. Uhlíř’s department) was completed in June following a successful peer review.
The objective of the project was the experimental study of uranium electrolysis in an LiF-NaF-KF melt and the study of the partitioning of selected elements in an LiF-NaF melt.
These issues have been addressed in the ACSEPT project, part of the EC 7th Framework Programme, and relate to the development of so-called pyrochemical technologies for the partitioning of spent fuel constituents. The aim of partitioning is the further use of the constituents used in generation IV nuclear reactors and subsequent transmutation to reduce used fuel radiotoxicity and the volume of radioactive waste requiring geological disposal. The advantage of pyrochemical methods, which represent an alternative to the commercially used aqueous spent fuel reprocessing method, is their universality; pyrotechnical methods in the future will be applicable not only for oxide fuels but also for advanced fuels based on nitrides or metals or oxide-based inert matrix fuels.
Czech laboratories concerned with pyrochemical technologies tend to focus on fluoride methods (chloride methods, which have also been developed in various countries, have the advantage of requiring lower operational temperature levels). Fluorides can be used primarily as a possible coolant for future reactors, as a partitioning agent and as a fuel component for so-called transmutation reactors. Research into the electroseparation of fluorides not only provides valuable information which can be used to reduce the amount of waste disposed of in deep geological repositories but is also contributing towards the development of new sources of energy.