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

Olsson Mattias :MSO mso at forsmark.vattenfall.se
Fri May 17 00:48:43 CDT 2013

On an industrial reprocessing scale you would insert the bundles into a
rather violent process that just chops it up and dumps it in acid to
dissolve it. Then you do chemical separation to get the uranium and
plutonium that you want.

Even if you did use a saw and made a fine cut across a single fuel pin,
the pellets would not likely just fall out because the pellets tend to
get deformed, swell and crack at high burnout. Then they will press
against the inside of the pin and not just fall out.

All the best,
Mattias Olsson

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 rod????
    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 reprocessing.
    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
    Thanks for you comments...
     Regards,   Joseph R. (Joe) Preisig,  Ph.D.

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