[ RadSafe ] Spent Fuel, Fuel Rod Bundles, Reprocessing, Robotics, etc.

JPreisig at aol.com JPreisig at aol.com
Tue May 14 13:34:56 CDT 2013

Dear Radsafe:
     Hey All.  Hope you are having a good  week.  Get Well Soon, Franz!!!!
     I know this email won't be the end-all in a  discussion of Fuel Rods, 
Spent Fuel Reprocessing, Robotics, etc., so here goes  anyway.
     I guess reprocessing will eventually take fuel rod  bundles from dry 
storage casks and place them in an area where they are isolated  from people 
and can be handled robotically.  The reprocessing  operator/technican would 
probably have some hand-like robotic controls which can  be used to grasp 
and move fuel bundles as needed..  Maybe a first task  would be taking each 
fuel bundle and placing it in the vicinity of a band saw,  welding torch, 
laser, etc. which could be used to make linear cuts across the  fuel bundles for 
the process of separating the fuel pellets from the fuel  rods.
    So, one question is (generally???) if one cuts in a  direction 
perpendicular to each fuel rod bundle's main axis, can one extricate  multiple fuel 
pellets with one cut???  Are the fuel pellets in say 6 fuel  rods in a 
bundle at the same linear position????  How many fuel pellets are  in one fuel 
    The next question is, once the cut across a fuel rod is  made, will the 
fuel pellets fall out of the fuel rod easily, or will more  mechanical 
encouragement/handling be needed????
    After the fuel pellets are all collected in a bucket, or  some 
container, then what happens next???
Are the fuel pellets placed in some acid or some other chemical for further 
 processing????  I know Jaro and other people on Radsafe are more familiar  
in what processing will take place after this point.  and I'm sure one  
email and/or more has already been sent to Radsafe concerning spent fuel  
    Anyway, I've opened up this can of worms for today  (again).  Direct 
your comments/suggestions to Radsafe...Can robotic etc.  reprocessing of spent 
reactor fuel be done at all, or in an economically viable  manner????
    Thanks for you comments...
     Regards,   Joseph R. (Joe) Preisig,  Ph.D.

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