[ RadSafe ] Gen IV questions

Karen Street Karen_Street at sbcglobal.net
Sun Jun 10 21:05:04 CDT 2012


Much thanks!

> From the Gen IV web site:
> http://www.gen-4.org/GIF/About/faq/faq-concepts1.htm#4
> What inherent aspects of the systems under development will guard against
> nuclear proliferation? 
> Along with the physical and administrative monitoring, control and security
> measures currently in place, careful selection of the fuel composition and
> of the reprocessing techniques may further increase the proliferation
> resistance of the nuclear fuel cycle. Making nuclear material less suitable
> for use in a nuclear weapon, or less prone to diversion for such use, can be
> achieved in three different ways, which are not reactor but fuel cycle
> specific: 
> a) By increasing the radiological intensity of the material itself, so that
> it cannot be handled without severely exposing the people handling it or
> without heavy and specialized shielding equipment, 
> b) By assuring that at no point during the fuel cycle will the isotopic
> composition of the fuel be suitable for the production of an explosive
> nuclear device, without prior complex reprocessing, 
> c) By minimizing the opportunities for diversion, such as during
> intermediate storage, transport to and from reprocessing, etc. 
> Most of the Generation IV systems involve fast reactors relying on multiple
> reprocessing and recycling of fuel, which essentially address all three of
> the above strategies. 
> Whereas current reprocessing techniques such as the PUREX process use
> aqueous chemistry (dissolution of spent fuel in strong acids) to extract
> uranium and plutonium, independently of each other, from the remaining
> mixture of minor actinides and fission products, advanced reprocessing
> techniques aim at separating a mixture of all actinides (including U and Pu)
> from the fission products. This mixture of actinides can be recycled in a
> fast reactor but is not suitable for use in nuclear weapons. 
> Non-aqueous reprocessing techniques are also under development. These
> techniques are pyro-metallurgical processes, known as pyro-processing, and
> are based on the electrolysis of spent fuel using molten salts as an
> electrolytic bath. Heavy metals are separated on one electrode and fission
> products remain in the salt. The main advantage of pyro-processing, and its
> use for the separation of all actinides, is the relative simplicity of the
> process and its compactness. This allows the reprocessing facility to be
> installed on the same site as the fast reactor thereby maintaining maximum
> physical protection of sensitive material by avoiding transport to and from
> a central reprocessing plant. 
> An even more advanced version of on-site reprocessing is possible in the
> most futuristic of the six systems selected in Generation IV, the Molten
> Salt Reactor (MSR). In this reactor, the fuel and coolant are one, and
> co-exist as a molten salt circulating through the core. A small fraction of
> this liquid is continuously extracted from the primary circuit and
> processed, to extract fission products only, in an chemical plant integrated
> in the reactor building. The "cleaned" salt is then fed back into the
> primary circuit. Here again, all actinides stay together and are recycled
> thereby avoiding transports to a central reprocessing facility. 
> A cross-cutting activity in the Generation IV framework aims at developing a
> methodology for the evaluation of the proliferation resistance of the
> different Generation IV systems using number of criteria and quantitative or
> qualitative indicators (see
> http://www.gen-4.org/Technology/horizontal/PRPPEM.pdf ).
> ===========================
> -----Original Message-----
> From: radsafe-bounces at health.phys.iit.edu
> [mailto:radsafe-bounces at health.phys.iit.edu] On Behalf Of Karen Street
> Sent: June-10-12 6:06 PM
> To: The International Radiation Protection (Health Physics) Mailing List
> Subject: [ RadSafe ] Gen IV questions
> I know that Gen IV has plans to make nuclear power more
> proliferation-resistent, eg, poison the plutonium for those who reprocess so
> no bomb could be made, and deliver uranium with the power plant, so no one
> need make their own fuel.
> First, is what I know true?
> Second, will these generally be true? True of all plants sold to Iran? What?
> Thanks

Best wishes, 
Karen Street
Friends Energy Project
blog http://pathsoflight.us/musing/index.php

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