Publications / Conference

Mesoscale to plant-scale models of nuclear waste reprocessing

Rao, Rekha R.; Pawlowski, Roger P.; Brotherton, Christopher M.; Cipiti, Benjamin B.; Domino, Stefan P.; Jove Colon, Carlos F.; Moffat, Harry K.; Nemer, Martin N.; Noble, David R.; O'Hern, Timothy J.

Imported oil exacerabates our trade deficit and funds anti-American regimes. Nuclear Energy (NE) is a demonstrated technology with high efficiency. NE's two biggest political detriments are possible accidents and nuclear waste disposal. For NE policy, proliferation is the biggest obstacle. Nuclear waste can be reduced through reprocessing, where fuel rods are separated into various streams, some of which can be reused in reactors. Current process developed in the 1950s is dirty and expensive, U/Pu separation is the most critical. Fuel rods are sheared and dissolved in acid to extract fissile material in a centrifugal contactor. Plants have many contacts in series with other separations. We have taken a science and simulation-based approach to develop a modern reprocessing plant. Models of reprocessing plants are needed to support nuclear materials accountancy, nonproliferation, plant design, and plant scale-up.