[ RadSafe ] Spent Nuclear Fuel Utilization

George Stanford gstanford at aya.yale.edu
Wed Sep 22 15:40:15 CDT 2010

Blaine & Jerry:
     Regarding the fission products, what Ed Sayre has to say about 
their commercial value might be of interest.  It's at
or < http://snipurl.com/15f0j9 >.
      Quote: "The commercial value of over twenty million dollars a year for
each 1000 MW reactor is based on today's value for the rare metals in 
the fission
products and the fissile metals to be recycled in fuel."
--  George


At 02:17 PM 9/22/2010, Blaine Howard wrote:
Dear RadSafers,
   With regard to an ideal solution for spent nuclear fuel, I like 
Jerry Cohen's suggestion:
"1. All nuclear fuel should be reprocessed and all fissile material 
recovered for fuel fabrication or other useful purposes.
2. The raffinates including all unusable fission products should be
solidified by mixing it in concrete and emplaced and solidified in 
suitable drums
3. The waste containing drums should be transported to the deepest 
part of the ocean, and dropped to descend (>10 km.) to the ocean floor."

   However, I would suggest a slightly different approach.
1.  All spent nuclear fuel should be reprocessed and the fissile 
material recovered for fuel fabrication.
2.  The U-238 should also be recovered and used in breeder reactors 
to convert it to a fissile material to recover all available energy 
from the SNF.
3.  The fission products (at least much of them) should be 
incorporated into small glass or ceramic sources which could be 
utilized for food irradiation facilities and agricultural produce irradiation.

   I have worked at a food irradiation facility and know some of the 
advantages of preserving food by irradiation.  Agricultural produce 
can be allowed to ripen on the trees and irradiated to allow shipping 
with less spoilage.  And the tree ripened flavor is much superior.
   I regard all of the spent nuclear fuel as a valuable resource for 
both energy and food preservation.
Of course, the public would have to overcome its radiophobia.

  Just a thought.
Blaine N. Howard
blainehoward at yahoo.com

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