Improving the Scientific Basis for Managing DOE's Excess Nuclear Materials and Spent Nuclear Fuel [Repost]

ISBN: 0309087228

Category: Technical

Tag: Science/Engineering


Posted on 2011-08-13. By anonymous.

Description


Improving the Scientific Basis for Managing DOE's Excess Nuclear Materials and Spent Nuclear Fuel
Publisher: Nаtional Acаdemies Prеss | 2003-05-09 | ISBN: 0309087228 | PDF | 124 pages | 5.03 MB


The production of nuclear materials for the national defense was an intense, nationwide effort that began with the Manhattan Project and continued throughout the Cold War. Now many of these product materials, by-products, and precursors, such as irradiated nuclear fuels and targets, have been declared as excess by the Department of Energy (DOE). Most of this excess inventory has been, or will be, turned over to DOE's Office of Environmental Management (EM), which is responsible for cleaning up the former production sites. Recognizing the scientific and technical challenges facing EM, Congress in 1995 established the EM Science Program (EMSP) to develop and fund directed, long-term research that could substantially enhance the knowledge base available for new cleanup technologies and decision making.
The EMSP has previously asked the National Academies' National Research Council for advice for developing research agendas in subsurface contamination, facility deactivation and decommissioning, highlevel waste, and mixed and transuranic waste. For this study the committee was tasked to provide recommendations for a research agenda to improve the scientific basis for DOE's management of its high-cost, high-volume, or high-risk excess nuclear materials and spent nuclear fuels. To address its task, the committee focused its attention on DOE's excess plutonium-239, spent nuclear fuels, cesium-137 and strontium-90 capsules, depleted uranium, and higher actinide isotopes.
The nuclear materials dealt with in this report are in relatively pure and concentrated forms, in contrast with waste and contaminated media dealt with in previous reports—in which radionuclides are typically dispersed at low concentrations in heterogeneous matrices. The committee concluded that not all of the excess nuclear materials are necessarily wastes; they cannot be re-created in the quantities now available, at least not without another effort approaching the Manhattan Project in scale, and some may have beneficial future uses. Research funded by the EMSP and other organizations should be directed primarily at discovering such uses, safely stabilizing the inventory, and developing a scientific basis for future disposition options.
In conducting this study, the committee held six meetings and visited four DOE sites. We recognize that a great deal of effort went into arranging presentations to the committee by DOE and contractor personnel. We especially thank Mark Gilbertson and Ker-Chi Chang of DOE headquarters for their help throughout the study. Our visit coordinators at the sites were Allen Croff, Oak Ridge National Laboratory; Jay Bilyeu, DOE-Savannah River; Alan Riechman, Savannah River Technology Center; and Marcus Glasper, DOE-Richland. Committee members Mark Paffett, Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), and Steven Thornberg, Sandia National Laboratories (SNL) also arranged, respectively, the visit to LANL and discussions with SNL scientists in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
We also recognize the staff of the National Academies' Board on Radioactive Waste Management (BRWM) for their assistance during the study. John Wiley, who served as study director, helped to guide the committee through its fact finding, report writing, and report review. Rodney Ewing, BRWM liaison, provided much helpful advice. Staff members Laura Llanos and Toni Greenleaf were always efficient and cheerful as they handled all of the many logistic details for the committee.
Finally, I want to thank the members of the committee. They were a pleasure to work with, and each made significant contributions.
Wm. Howard Arnold Chairman

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